By Tambay A. Obenson of Shadow and Act: On Cinema of the African Diaspora

Great black actors like Sidney PoitierDennis HaysbertMorgan FreemanDavid Harewood and most recentlyTerrence Howard have all played him, whether in projects that were specifically centered around him, or in which his wife, Winnie Mandela, was the focus.

Mandela in jail

Nelson Mandela

However, in looking over all those films – even those in which his story was the highlight, the narrative always included his relation to some specific white man – in Mandela and de Clerk (Poitier & Michael Caine); Goodbye Bafana (Haysbert and Ralph Fiennes as a prison guard responsible for Mandela, and the relationship they had); andInvictus (Freeman and Matt Damon as captain of the South African Springboks rugby team).

So really, I can’t say that any of them has focused solely on Mandela’s life, absent of any white co-pilot; meaning, there hasn’t been what I’d call the definitive Nelson Mandela film or TV series (and I’m talking strictly about scripted narratives here, not including documentaries), which, if you think about it, is a shame, given the global iconic awareness of the man.

Hopefully, that will be corrected in the next 12 months…[Continue reading here.]