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Film Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat


Mandela: Son of Africa, Father of a Nation
Directed by Jo Menell, Angus Gibson
PolyGram 03/97 DVD/VHS Feature Film
Not Rated

Mandela: Son of Africa, Father of a Nation is the official film biography of the first democratically elected president of the racially united South Africa. Directors Jo Menell and Angus Gibson give us an up-close and personal portrait of this black hero. "The struggle is my life," he wrote in a letter from underground on June 26, 1961. "I will continue fighting for freedom until the end of my days." More than anything else, Nelson Mandela is the living embodiment of the struggle for freedom by South Africa's blacks.

The Xhosa tribesman was trained to be a leader at Christian schools. He studied law in Johannesburg and helped found South Africa's first black law firm. He went on to become a forceful presence in the African National Conference (ANC). Freedom was the holy grail that compelled him to initiate nonviolent campaigns against the government's policy of apartheid. And when the ANC was banned, Mandela went underground and organized a nationwide strike.

Mandela's quest for freedom for his people put a strain on his two marriages. During Mandela's 27 years in prison his second wife Winnie courageously stood her ground in the face of bannings, imprisonment, and eventual banishment to the village of Brandfut in 1977. Mandela's sister says of him in the film, "I realize he isn't ours. He belongs to the nation." This inspiring and edifying screen biography celebrates Mandela as a freedom fighter and a liberator — the father of a nation.


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Reviews and database copyright 1970 2012
by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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