Who Will Make The Great Mandela Film? (Not Justin Chadwick)

We run down Hollywood's latest attempt at a Nelson Mandela film, Justin Chadwick's 'Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom.'

First of all Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom isn’t the first Mandela movie. Perhaps Clint Eastwood’s Invictus is the only other with a similar level of hype– and they’re more or less the same sort of movie, like they were all made by Bono using the Hallmark guide to making movies. Just like Invictus, it’s boring– though if you want to see a similar style of hagiographic filmmaking, watch Gandhi.

The film fixes Nelson Mandela into four definite portraits. The lovable rogue with a heart of gold. The young firebrand leader complete with the expected cries of “Mayibuye Africa!” and “Amandla!” The jailed man who mellows in jail, fighting for long trousers. And finally the Reconciler, the man who now meets with Naomi Campbell and David Beckham. In each of the four eras, key moments and people are glossed out, turned into nameless figures or treated like disciples of the Mandela cult. Walter Sisulu is nothing more than a hand on the shoulder of Mandela, a comforting small man with spectacles who constantly looks up to Mandela, figuratively and literally. No mention is made of their reformation of the ANC. Ahmed Kathrada is nothing more than “Kathy,” comic relief when Riaad Moosa speaks his three lines and the rest are voiceless names in the background of Mandela’s rise to sainthood. Oliver Tambo, quite depressingly, is forgotten in all this noise, relegated to a one-minute shot and Albert Luthuli, Mandela’s early mentor is never mentioned or seen. Yes this is a film about the Hollywood Nelson Mandela, but to omit the history of others, to gloss over the history of the struggle to frame it as one man’s struggle, is the principle mark of any Hollywood version of a struggle or revolution.

The films paints the crucial events of Nelson Mandela and South Africa’s life as nothing more than a Wikipedia list of “Important Dates of South Africa.” Robert Sobukwe and the PAC are non-existent, Communism and the SACP are non-existent. I could go on and on, add other names to the list such as Steve Biko or Govan Mbeki but there is no point. The movie has two and a half hours to adapt Mandela’s life and does a poor job of it. Asking for some political complexity, or at the very least frame the issues of Nelson Mandela’s life within the context of the wider political complexities, are like asking Kanye West to shut up, i.e. impossible. Somehow director Justin Chadwick and producer Anant Singh managed to render Apartheid banal– we get images of the “dompaas” and “net-blankes,” you can hear the word “Kaffir” off-screen if you clean your ears regularly. Yet the true horrors of Apartheid are kept hidden. The daily nightmares that must have made up Nelson Mandela’s life are not depicted. In fact it seems like Nelson Mandela was the only man capable of dragging South Africa out of Apartheid or fight for long pants on Robben Island.

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Still from 'Black Lady Goddess'

Check Out the Trailer for 'Black Lady Goddess,' a Satirical Afro-futuristic Series

The upcoming series, by Chelsea Odufu, centers on a "time period where humans have not only found out that God is a Black woman, but reparations have been issued to each person of African descent."

Black Lady Goddess is a new series from Nigerian-Guyanese filmmaker and content creator Chelsea Odufu.

The upcoming show, described as a "satirical afro-futurisitc" tale, takes place in the year 2040, when humans have come into contact with their creator—a Black woman.

"[Black Lady Goddess] follows the life of young activist Ifeoma Washington who is coming into her own in this time period where humans have not only found out that God is a Black woman, but after reparations in the amount of $455,000 has been issued to each person of African descent," reads the official synopsis. The show highlights how those of African descent grapple with the effects of ongoing Western Hegemony.

Still from 'Black Lady Goddess'

The show is heavily inspired by the Dogon Tribe of Mali, a group that has pioneered the study of astronomy for decades, and centers the experiences of Black women. "Black Lady Goddess submerges us into a world where God is a woman breaking away from the usual representation of God being a masculine figure, which we see throughout western canonical literature," says Odufu in an artist statement. "The goal is to break the chains of patriarchy and show that women can hold positions of power, authority, cultural significance and even the highest position of all, the creator of the universe."

Still from 'Black Lady Goddess'

The first season consists of eight 22-minute episodes, created, directed and written by Chelsea Odufu and written and produced by Emann Odufu.

Be on the lookout for the series premiere and check out the trailer for the pilot episode of Black Lady Goddess below.

Black Lady Goddess Pilot Episode Official Trailer

(Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)

Bernardine Evaristo's Award-Winning Novel, 'Girl, Woman, Other,' Is Being Adapted Into a Film

The British-Nigerian author's Booker-prize winning book, about the lives of Black-British women, is headed to the big screen.

British-Nigerian author Bernardine Evaristo's Booker-prize winning novel Girl, Woman, Other is being adapted for the big screen by major British production company Potboiler Television, reports African literary site Brittle Paper.

The production company, helmed by BAFTA winning producer Andrea Calderwood and Gail Egan, is the same company behind the upcoming series adaptation of Chimamanda Adichie's Americanah on HBO Max. Potboiler Television's previous productions also include the 2019 film The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor.

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The 12 Best Ghanaian Songs of the Month

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March has been quite an eventful month around the world. While almost everything has come to a standstill due to the pandemic, the creative world hasn't stopped. In an attempt to keep the content coming during this time of social distancing and self isolation, both the top shots and emerging acts have been showing out. As March comes to a close we give you a list of some of the best songs to come out of Ghana this month. Check them out below.

Follow our GHANA WAVE playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

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East African artists have been keeping our spirits up with upbeat and catchy releases this month. Here are our picks for the best East African songs of the month.

Follow our East African Grooves playlist on Spotify and Apple Music.

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