Emmy Award-winning and Oscar-nominated actor, playwright, director and producer, Laurence Fishburne, stars as Nelson Mandela in the six-hour mini-series, which is set to nationally premiere on Sunday 23 July on NITV Ch.34.
The biopic based on two Mandela autobiographies, Conversations with Myself and Nelson Mandela by Himself, delves into Mandela’s early years, his personal and political journey, as well as the major events that took place in South Africa. It documents life in the early-60s where the political unrest engulfing South Africa is rife.
The saga also pays homage to many lesser known men and women who made sacrifices toward South Africa's fight for freedom. Orlando Jones plays Oliver Tambo and David Harewood stars as Walter Sisulu, two of Mandela's closest friends, while Michael Nyqvist plays Dr. H.F. Verwoerd, the prime minister of apartheid-era South Africa from 1958 until his assassination in 1966. These characters fought alongside Mandela in the multi-racial, multi-national movement that led to the end of South African apartheid.
“I had never before seen so much hate, violence and bloodshed as I walked amongst the dead bodies I knew there was no turning back. For me the anti-apartheid movement was born on that day.”
The landmark mini-series is named after Madiba, the Thembu clan to which Nelson Mandela belonged to. A clan name is much more important than a surname as it refers to the ancestor from which a person is descended. Madiba was the name of a Thembu chief who ruled in the Transkei in the 18th century and is used as a sign of respect.
shot exclusively in South Africa and on Robben Island, Madiba explores the injustices and struggles of Mandela and those around him, though brings about hope and strength in the power of the people in South Africa’s fight for freedom and humanity; still as prevalent as ever today.
Episode One: Troublemaker
After his father's death and backing out of an arranged marriage, Nelson flees his village and heads to Johannesburg, where he continues his work as an underground revolutionary. He believes he has a purpose and his mission is to follow it. After completing a degree in law, he finds a new home in the ANC where he has his first taste in action through activism. He discovers that justice can be won, but the price of victory is higher than he ever imagined.
Episode Two: Defiance
On trial for treason, Nelson’s marriage to his second wife, Winnie, is affected by an uncertain future and the strain imposed by the government’s State of Emergency. Despite this crack down, Nelson’s role within the ANC grows and when the verdict comes down, Mandela’s star is on the rise.
Episode Three: Spear of a Nation
Despite personal financial hardship, Nelson takes on the gruelling task of raising funds for the ANC. Once Nelson ends up at Robben Island for a life sentence, his friend, Oliver keeps the struggle alive on the outside.
Episode Four: Total Strategy
Imprisoned for life on Robben Island, Nelson keeps up his resistance, refusing to stoop to the moral level of his racist jailers. Meanwhile the ANC, led by President Oliver Tambo, manages to keep the international spotlight trained on apartheid. With Nelson, Oliver Tambo and the rest of the ANC leadership in exile, the government turns its wrath upon Winnie, trying to destroy Mandela by crushing his wife.
Episode Five: Brains not Blood
Mandela is finally released from prison but his liberation does not come without cost, he is unable to reconcile his marriage. With the country in a state of contention, Mandela is the only man who can unify a divided nation.
Episode Six: A New World
After 27 years in prison, freedom for Mandela does not guarantee a free, democratic South Africa. Nelson must face betrayals, personal heartbreak, and the loss of his most trusted friend, Oliver Tambo. Simultaneously, he must avert the possibility of civil war, end tribal warfare and stem the bloodiest period in South Africa’s history. Miraculously, Mandela brokers negotiations for a free and fair election and guides the nation to becoming a unified South Africa.