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Lives That Changed the World: Nelson Mandela (DVD Review)

10 Feb, 2010 By: Angelique Flores


Street 2/16/10
$9.98 DVD
Not rated.

Coinciding with the Nelson Mandela biopic Invictus, starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon, and Black History Month comes this documentary about the revered anti-apartheid activist.

Through narrated footage, photos and interviews, the program succinctly tells of Mandela’s political struggles against apartheid in South Africa.

In a collection of compelling interviews, various people who knew or were influenced by Mandela speak to specific moments in his life and activism.

Among the interview subjects are Mandela’s youngest daughter, Zindzi Mandela-Hlongwane; Lindewe Sisulu, whose father, Walter Sisulu, was sentenced to prison with Mandela, and who is now South Africa’s housing minister; F.W. De Klerk, the last white president of South Africa; Zackie Achmat, an AIDS activist; Christo Brand, former prison guard and Nelson’s jailer; Ahmed Kathrada, who spent 27 years behind bars with Mandela; Chester Williams, the first black man to play for South Africa in the world rugby cup (the story on which Invictus is based); and Adriaan Vlok, the only apartheid minister who came forward to confess his sins and ask for forgiveness.

At 45 minutes long, the Smithsonian Networks special doesn’t go into a lot of depth, but rather touches on several major points about the historical icon, offering different stories from what many have probably read in newspapers and history books. It was most interesting to hear from Zindzi, who grew up without her father and had to share him with her country, and Brand, who was inspired by the prisoner over whom who he kept watch.
With a subject as inspirational as Mandela, this film is sure to please.

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