Madiba’s long walk to South African TV

2017-11-05 06:11

Johannesburg - Veteran actor Hlomla Dandala has challenged the South African movie industry and investors to tell South African stories using local talent, without looking to Hollywood to tell them.

Dandala portrays struggle stalwart Govan Mbeki in the newly unveiled television miniseries, Madiba, on the late former president Nelson Mandela’s life.

Mandela is played by different actors in the series, but the better part is played by US actor Laurence Fishburne, while ANC stalwart Oliver Tambo is played by Orlando Jones and Walter Sisulu by David Harewood.

“Madiba is an American series and they are telling a story of a person we have known since we were young.

“The indictment is actually on us. Why haven’t we told the Madiba story?” Dandala asked.

“You can’t blame America for telling a story they chose to tell, or for seeing our greatness when we didn’t see our own greatness in Tambo’s story, Sisulu’s story, or that of Steve [Biko] or any of our other heroes.”

He said it was not the US’s fault that it boosts its industry by telling the stories of international heroes.

“The fact that the story is about us, and we haven’t told it, says a lot about us, not them.”

Dandala was responding to questions thrown at a panel at the launch of Madiba on Wednesday. The panel included Terry Pheto, who plays political activist Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in the series.

Directed by Kevin Hooks, Madiba is a six-part miniseries that explores the fight for freedom against the apartheid government, which Mandela championed and fought for decades.

The show was made for Black Entertainment Television (BET) in the US, and premiered in New York in January this year.

On Wednesday, the series was screened at the Liliesleaf Heritage Site in Rivonia, ahead of its premier on South African television tomorrow.

Hooks’ long television career included working on Prison Break, Agents of SHIELD, and Castle.

More than just a political leader, Madiba also looks into the intricacies of Mandela’s personal life and the internal struggles he faced on his quest to free the nation.

The series starts when Mandela is elected as the first democratic president of South Africa, after all races voted together for the first time.

Mandela then walks into his office in Mahlamba Ndlopfu in Pretoria, closely followed by a group of mesmerised journalists and photographers. Mandela asks for time to be alone before staring out of a window. He recalls his childhood when his father, played by Steven Mofokeng, was in his death bed in rural Eastern Cape.

The screening was well received, with the audience clapping and nodding at particularly good scenes. By the end, it seemed people were not prepared to leave just yet and the audience was left wanting more.

Mandela has previously been portrayed on the big screen by Morgan Freeman in Invictus and Idris Elba in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.

Madiba premiers tomorrow on Discovery, DStv channel 121 at 9pm

Creators love Nelson Mandela’s story and these actors have played the struggle hero:

  • Danny Glover in Mandela (1987)
  • Sir Sidney Poitier in Mandela and De Klerk (1997)
  • Dennis Haysbert in Goodbye Bafana (2007)
  • Morgan Freeman in Invictus (2009)
  • Idris Elba in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2013)


What are some of South Africa’s stories that you think deserve to be told?

SMS us on 35697 using the keyword MADIBA and tell us what you think. Please include your name and province. SMSes cost R1.50

(Photo: Supplied)

Read more on:    nelson mandela  |  film industry

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