“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela
Recently, New York City’s Tribeca Hotel hosted a private viewing for the long awaited biopic of South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, Nelson Mandela. Set in an intimate screening room, Mandela: A Long Walk to Freedom summoned a slew of industry folk and VIPs to witness a body of cinematographic work that is to pay tribute to one of the world’s most influential leaders.
Amid a swanky air and a rowdy crowd trying to make their way into a room with very limited seating, was the underlying angst of what we were about to witness by watching this particular film. Needless to say, Long Walk to Freedom was interesting to say the least.
Here are five things we learned from the biopic.
1. Authorities edited the very few letters Mandela was allowed to receive in prison.
Not only was Mandela sentenced to life in prison, but the scarce letters he received from his wife and daughters were handed to him in already opened envelopes, with cut out pieces of intimate information. The only letter he got to read in full detail was the one bearing the news of his dead son.
2. Mandela wasn’t permitted to see his children until they turned 16.
Mandela had two daughters, Zindzi and Zenani, who could not pay their father a visit until the aforementioned happened.
3. Madiba was a womanizer.
Played by the swoon-worthy Idris Elba, Nelson Mandela’s character in Long Walk to Freedom is first portrayed as a selfish man who engaged in numerous casual sexual affairs with women. His first wife ultimately left him.
4. Winnie Mandela was South Africa’s first black professional social welfare worker.
Miss Winnie is depicted as a very passionate woman who spoke with much conviction. She chose to service the needy people, and devoted her energy and efforts to the struggle for equality and justice in South Africa.
5. Nelson and Winnie Mandela each experienced the ongoing apartheid from two diametrically different perspectives.
Mr. Mandela struggled with his own demons behind bars as a husband, father and son, while Winnie endured the atrocity of the South African streets left destitute at the hands of a violently racist government. Day in and day out, Mandela fought against bigotry from prison policemen, which ultimately led him to gain their respect. Winnie on the other hand, suffered being ripped a part from her two daughters every time she was being hauled away to prison, where she underwent brutal spells in solitary confinement.
When Mandela was released from Prison, 27 years later, he seemingly had a newfound outlook on the relationship blacks and white should have. Whereas Mandela forgave, Winnie held on to what she knew to be South Africa’s government system –– supremacist and savage.
You can catch the sobering and revealing film, starring Idris Elba, Naomie Harris & more after it hits movie theaters on Friday, Nov. 29!