By one of the interesting, and I suspect stage managed coincidences the death of Nelson Mandela was announced during the premier of the film Mandela The Long Walk to Freedom. These days Mandela is spoken of in the same breadth as Mahatma Ghandi who cut his teeth so to speak also as a lawyer in South Africa before honing his ideas into Satyagraha whose effectiveness contributed significantly to gaining independence for India and also similarly when it can to the state with power recognising the game was up so speak there was only on man to negotiate with, although in India there were two with Jinah the leader of the Muslims which divided India creating Pakistan.
On reviewer in the Guardian describes Mandela as a conservative film abut a radical although Mandel could also described as a conservative in the sense of being a traditionalist with a tribal village background from which he was able to break from in becoming a slick city lawyer, representing black countrymen during the worst years of Apartheid as the regime attempt to cling to its ruthless racism in the face if the increasing winds of change., The film pulls no punches revealing Mandela as a typical young man on the make interested in sex but not in marriage and good family life.
The script is adapted by William Nicholson from Mandela's 1995 autobiography with the British Actor Idris Elba in the title role and a performance just as good as the winning actor in 12 years a houses. He is courted by the revolutionary bombing throwing African National Congress and dawn in by events and once in he becomes an active participant in the violent struggle. Once captured he faces the death penalty for which he expects and it is the regime which works out it is better to isolated him rather than made a martyr.
It can be argued that Mandela only became a symbol rather than an important force change and that it was opinion in the West, especially by the UK and other European states which created the inevitability of change rather than the activities of the ANC.
Much has been made that on release he had and his second wife Winnie found themselves with very different outlooks on the future. Winnie, understandably wanted absolute power and revenge for the crimes committed by the White minority over the decades of brutality and humiliations while Mandela and years after year of think throughout the best way to lead his country if the opportunity was to come his way. It is for his statesmanship and reconciliation that he is rightly proclaimed as one of the great historical figures fro achieving statehood for black majority without the kind of bloodbath usually association with such situations with Syria the latest we are witnessing today.
The problem for someone like Mandela is that the choice he made, the right one, inevitably meant that others corrupt or seeking power for power’s sake would become the government. Only dictators with personal armies and a web of informers, secret police and elimination of all rivals for power can hope to remain in control of what happened for long especially as the more open the society the more the International companies and the nation governments will all attempt to cash in. The film was engaging and times, a good film but not a great one.