Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Life and Times of Nelson Mandela

Madiba - The Life and Times of Nelson Mandela, is a short film about the life history of Nelson Mandela. The film traces how Mandela attached himself to the African National Congress (ANC) and vice versa. A lot of live interviews with people who knew Mandela personally and professionally are shown.The people are dressed in bright colors of blue, green, and violet flower designs - typical attractive attire of African people.

Mandela starts off with a not so impressive career and stays in a room without paying rent. One of his friends recall that  Mandela obsessively read the book 'Principles of War' by Clausewitz. After the Sharpville Massacre,  Mandela starts to believe that only violence will help the fight against apartheid. Mandela travels across Africa and London to convince people about ANC. As fate beckons any revolutionary leader, Mandela is imprisoned in Robin Island for close to 27 years.

Meanwhile, his second wife Winnie Mandela continues the struggle outside the prison. Winnie quips, "When i married Mandela, i knew i was not marrying the man but the struggle." Winnie is also kept in solitary confinement for 18 months. She is left naked and her periods cakes on her legs. She is told that she was 'politically naked'. She is also blamed of having an affair with a prison officer. When news reaches Mandela, he says,"Winnie is an young and attractive woman and may be tempted due to my absence by her side."

When F.W. Clerk takes over as the new President of Africa, he releases Mandela from the prison without any conditions. The subsequent shooting of two key leaders of ANC makes Mandela an overnight leader. Only he can control the mob violence with a television speech. Thus, Mandela grows from 'Prison to President'.

However, the people of Africa claim that the rich-poor divide increased after Mandela took over. And Mandela turned a blind eye to the deaths of 400 people per day due to AIDS. Mandela defends himself telling that his focus was on nation building and he was not a saint but a human being who makes mistakes.

Mandela now lives with his third wife, meets the rich and famous, and calls world leaders. The film is informative for a person who does not have the patience to read a long biography or autobiography of Mandela.

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