Mandela film sets to take on new life


    18 July 2012

    The film sets created for the only official film based on Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, Long Walk To Freedom, will take on a new life once filming is completed, thanks to a partnership with the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory aimed at perpetuating Mandela’s legacy.

    The partnership, announced on Tuesday, marks a continuation of the involvement of film producer Anant Singh’s Videovision Entertainment with the Mandela Day initiative that began with the company’s adoption of Durban-based NGO Streetwise.

    Topping the list of the Long Walk To Freedom production’s support of Mandela Day 2012 is the endowment of key sets created for the film to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory.

    Film sets to be live on in heritage centres

    Once filming is completed, these sets will be housed in the Nelson Mandela Museum in Qunu in the Eastern Cape and other associated heritage facilities. These realistic sets will allow the public to be transported through time and experience places that have great significance in Mandela’s history.

    Among these sets are the Courtroom of the Palace Of Justice, Madiba’s Robben Island Cell, the Robben Island Visitors’ Centre, and the interior of Madiba’s Orlando West, Soweto home over four decades.

    Also created are a range of outdoor sets which include the multi-level B Section of the Robben Island Prison and the prison courtyard, as well as a section of Orlando West in Soweto, including the iconic Vilakazi Street.

    ‘Historically significant places and objects’

    The sets, designed by production designer Johnny Breedt, were built by a team of local artisans with intricate detail and authenticity.

    “The team working on Long Walk To Freedom have created historically significant places and objects, and we are delighted to share this with the public through the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory and the Nelson Mandela Museum to ensure that our people can benefit from these creations in locations that are easily accessible,” Singh said in a statement on Tuesday.

    “We are pleased that in addition to the film, we can further contribute to the preservation of Madiba’s amazing history and legacy.”

    Achmat Dangor, CEO of the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, said the gift would “ensure an added dimension to our public outreach once the repurposed and refurbished Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory opens in mid-2013”.

    The chairperson of the content committee of the Nelson Mandela Museum, Dr P Dyantyi, said the donation would “go a long way in ensuring that we comprehensively tell the story of President Mandela through visual artefacts.

    “In addition, it will bring three important sites into one space in Qunu, which is geographically the fourth space,” Dyantyi said.

    “What makes us more excited as the Nelson Mandela Museum is that Videovision shares the same values and vision that we hold dear – that the story of President Mandela is bigger than any individual and that it must be shared with the rest of the world using all technologies available to us.”

    Actors, crew get involved on Mandela Day

    The production, which filmed the release of Mandela at the Drakenstein (formerly Victor Verster) Prison, will also support the Mandela Day 2012 initiative of the prison, which has teamed up with the Department of Basic Education in the Western Cape to renovate schools which are in dire need of repairs.

    Singh and some actors from the film will participate in the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory container library project at the Aha Setjhaba School in Parys.

    Through the participation of Singh and his team, a new element will be introduced into the container library project, namely the inclusion of films that tell the history of South Africa.

    Singh also announced that the 500-strong creative and technical team behind the Long Walk To Freedom film had also committed themselves to supporting the Mandela Day initiative with individual activities for 67 minutes.

    This will form part of the Mandela Day Campaign with activities that go beyond Madiba’s birthday, with the aim of “making every day a Mandela Day”.

    Long Walk To Freedom

    Singh was awarded the coveted film rights to Mandela’s international best-selling autobiography 15 years ago.

    The film stars Idris Elba and Atandwe Kani (Mandela), Tony Kgoroge (Walter Sisulu), Riaad Moosa (Ahmed Kathrada), Zolani Mkiva (Raymond Mhlaba), Simo Magwaza (Andrew Mlangeni), Fana Mokoena (Govan Mbeki) and Thapelo Mokoena (Elias Motsoaledi), Naomie Harris, Lindiwe Matshikiza and Terry Pheto.

    The film started principle photography in KwaZulu-Natal at the end of May and is currently shooting in Cape Town, whereafter the production will move to Johannesburg, the Eastern Cape and then back to KwaZulu-Natal.

    SAinfo reporter and Nelson Mandela Foundation