Mandela miniseries filming in South Africa

Madiba, a Black Entertainment Television (BET) produced miniseries currently being filmed in South Africa, not only tells the life story of Nelson Mandela, but the series will also look at length at the iconic activists and the ordinary people involved in the anti-apartheid struggle.

The series features an all-star cast of both international and local actors, including Laurence Fishburne (best known as Morpheus in the Matrix films) in the role of Mandela.

Bringing the series to life

Renowned South African actors Terry Pheto (Tsotsi) and Hlomla Dandala (Isidingo) also have roles in the production. Pheto plays Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and Dandala plays stalwart Govan Mbeki.

Other South Africans in the production include another Isidingo actor, Grant Swanby as Afrikaner anti-activist Bram Fischer, and Mark Elderkin (Black Sails) as Anglican bishop and human rights activist Trevor Huddleston.

American Orlando Jones, best known for his character acting in cult films such as Evolution and Office Space, portrays long-serving ANC president Oliver Tambo. British actor David Harewood (Homeland, Supergirl) portrays Walter Sisulu.

Laurence Fishburne

Fishburne told TimesLive in June 2016 that being cast for the role of Madiba was a huge honour and one of the best roles of his career. “Preparing for this role was pretty interesting. The good news is that there is so much information about Nelson Mandela and the struggle out there.

“I relied mostly on meetings that I had in November with Zelda la Grange and Ahmed Kathrada. These are people who were very close to him and they shared some wonderful things with me,” Fishburne said.

Asked what he hoped global audiences would learn from the series that they may not have already known, Fishburne said “a greater understanding of the history of the struggle… because it wasn’t just Mandela… (he) and the leadership of the ANC really sacrificed a lot to put an end to a really inhumane and unjust system of government”.

Madiba: the series

The series is directed by Kevin Hooks, known for his work in creating intricate television narratives in shows such as Prison Break, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and 24.

Hooks told Hollywood Reporter that the longer miniseries format was perfect for telling the Mandela and anti-apartheid struggle story, delving deep into the relationships that defined the era, notably the comradeship between Mandela, Tambo and Sisulu, as well as using the space allowed by episodic television to develop characters more effectively.

“I am humbled by the opportunity to tell the amazing life story of Nelson Mandela,” Hooks said in May 2015.

The series is produced, in conjunction with BET, by Madiba’s grandson, Kweku Mandela, and his Out of Africa Entertainment Company, part of international film distributor Blue Ice Pictures, that has previously produced films such as The Bang Bang Club and a number of BBC productions filmed in Southern Africa.

Meanwhile, Hooks is updating followers on the progress of the series’ production on his Twitter account, using the hashtag #Madiba2017.

Harewood has also been tweeting photos from the production, including scenes depicting life on Robben Island during the imprisonment of Mandela and Sisulu.

Watch a selection of clips depicting Mandela in film, including Morgan Freeman in Invictus and Idris Elba in A Long Walk To Freedom.

Morgan Freeman

Idris Elba

Terrence Howard (in Winnie)

Dennis Haysbert (in Goodbye Bafana)

Sidney Poitier (in Mandela and De Klerk)

Clarke Peters (in End Game)

Source: IMDB

Southafrica.info reporter

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