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    Mandela: Life set for global release in April 2025

    The Nelson Mandela Foundation has authorised a five-part docu-series on Nelson Mandela’s life, set for a global release in April 2025.
    Image by Andrew Zuckerman
    Image by Andrew Zuckerman

    Mandela: Life, a working title, will be Nelson Mandela’s own story ‘in his own words, narrated in his voice’.

    Directed by acclaimed South African film-maker Mandla Dube, the series is uniquely authorized by the Nelson Mandela Foundation with exclusive permission to archivally recreate Nelson Mandela’s voice from his personal archive and to feature previously unreleased material and unpublished letters written by him from prison.

    Mandlakayise Walter Dube, Jr., director Madela: Life. Image supplied
    Mandlakayise Walter Dube, Jr., director Madela: Life. Image supplied

    The series has been in development for two years and will be ready for global release on Freedom Day, 27 April 2025, the 31st anniversary of South Africa’s first democratic election.

    Thirty years after South Africa transitioned to democracy and a decade after Nelson Mandela’s death, the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the official custodian of his personal archive, has granted its long-time creative partner and originating publisher of five books with and about Nelson Mandela, Blackwell & Ruth, exclusive permission to create the series.

    Blackwell & Ruth is partnering with renowned South African filmmaker Dube and will co-produce with his production company Pambilimedia.

    Made in collaboration with the archive and research team Nelson Mandela personally authorised in 2004, Verne Harris, Razia Saleh and Sahm Venter, it aims to be the most rigorously researched, in-depth and personal long-form documentary portrait of his life ever produced.

    The series will be founded on unique access to an unmatched trove of public and private material assembled by the Nelson Mandela Foundation archival team and Blackwell & Ruth over the past 20 years.

    A letter to Zindzi & Zenani, 26 June 1969. Image supplied by The Nelson Mandela Foundation
    A letter to Zindzi & Zenani, 26 June 1969. Image supplied by The Nelson Mandela Foundation
    click to enlarge

    It includes significant previously unpublished personal documents written by Mandela in prison, substantial unseen archival film footage, new and original footage, audio recordings, translations of transcripts of secret state recordings and many hundreds of pages of Mandela’s private writing and correspondence, which will provide the basis for a profoundly personal narration.

    The series is being created in a world defined by violence, precarity, fundamentalism and division.

    It is a moment when Nelson Mandela’s story and the dramatic events that unfolded in South Africa from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s can serve to inspire a new generation to believe that even the deepest generational division and hatred can be overcome by representative and ethical leadership, and by people standing up bravely in the pursuit of justice and a more compassionate world.

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