Mandela: long Walk to Freedom

Art & Culture

Review by Pitman Browne

Honour our Heroes! It seems as though this film was challenging me to go home and bring along my two sons which is just as well I did. Now, they are coming to terms with the indications ascribed to a journey so great –it is unspeakable!

The film from start to middle, opened up a spiral of treasured information to do with the early years of a barrister and activist of passionate speeches –providing an eye-opener to complement what we now know was his final release from prison.

Moral courage at every level! He had to be a strong man to do it. At certain points, I completely forgot that Idris Elba was only an actor. With the help of make-up specialists, he seemed to slow down and age during the film, so at 75 when government ministers met for a face-to-face proposal for power- sharing, I was stunned by the agility of his mind; concentration ever so sharp, I thought ya ya ya this guy is ready! He equated their agenda as based on fear of a backlash from millions of Africans yearning for one man, one vote: “I wouldn’t like to be in your position”, he stressed.

Nothing short of a cast of thousands and oh I just loved the dances. Mass demonstrations and the soft velvet symphonic music counterbalanced by the loudest-of-the-loud African bashment!

Naomi Harris, whilst displaying sensational acting skill, brought me close to entertaining the view that Winnie Mandela was not the real hero in this film. Putting it another way, Justin Chadwick, the director, gave precedence to Nelson Mandela at every level of the debate.

Oh, and by the way –I nearly forgot – there is a mistake in the film. Mandela on becoming acquainted with Winnie for the first time remarks, “I know you, your name is Winnie Mandela and you are a Social Worker.” Question: How could he describe her as Winnie Mandela when he wasn’t married to her yet? Her maiden name must have been different before attaining the name ‘Mandela’ at their marriage.

A great film to watch for a great man.