Nelson Mandela

Zindzi Mandela approves of movie on her ailing father's life story

Daughter of South African anti-apartheid hero gives her approval of story of an amazing man

PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 November, 2013, 6:06am
UPDATED : Monday, 04 November, 2013, 11:25am

The long-awaited movie on Nelson Mandela's life has been described as a "very emotional" and accurate portrayal by one of his daughters.

The movie Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom, largely based on his autobiography of the same title, traces the life of the anti-apartheid hero from his childhood in the rural Eastern Cape to his election in 1994 as the country's first black president.

The release comes as South Africa remains on edge about the health of the peace icon who spent three months in hospital in a critical condition with a lung infection this year.

He has been receiving intensive nursing care at his Johannesburg home since being discharged on September 1, and updates on his health and welfare from government and family have been sporadic.

Zindzi Mandela, 53, one of Mandela's daughters with ex-wife Winnie Mandela, praised the realistic, but deeply emotional, portrayal of her father's life in the 21/2-hour film.

"It was very emotional to watch it. Honestly it was very difficult ... At the same time, the love that kept the family together comes through in the film. And the fact that my father left ... and my mother continued the struggle," said Zindzi, who grew up while her father was in jail.

Zindzi said she found South African producer Anant Singh's "ability to summarise so many life experiences of my father, my mother and ourselves simply incredible".

At one point while Mandela was in jail, Zindzi's mother Winnie had been arrested and was placed in solitary confinement for over a year by the apartheid government.

"There is a scene where my sister and I are left alone at home because my mother has been locked up and my sister is looking after me, like trying to make us breakfast and so on." Zindzi said

"It made me weep and weep because it was so true. And we had those moments of loneliness where we found there is nobody for us and it was very bleak and no hope of anybody coming to our rescue.

"And just that scene alone took me to the various episodes in my life where I just felt the absence of a father, of a mother and of a normal family life."

Mandela spent 27 years in jail for activism against the racist regime, yet left his cell preaching equality and forgiveness in the bitterly divided nation.

The movie will be released in South African cinemas on November 28 and in the United States and other countries next month.

Mandela is played by British actor Idris Elba, 41 and Winnie by British actress Naomie Harris.

Watch: Trailer for 'Long March to Freedom'