Collection 544 - Mandela: The Living Legend

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GB AI001 MR-MM-544


Mandela: The Living Legend


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2-part series, 51 minutes each.

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This two-part documentary series stands as the definitive film biography of Nelson Mandela. Each program meticulously chronicles his powerful story through archival footage and exclusive interviews, while unprecedented access to Mandela offers an intimate look into his life today. Friends and world leaders interviewed include former President Bill Clinton, Fidel Castro, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. A BBCW Production. 2-part series, 51 minutes each.

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Mandela: The Living Legend is the story of one of the great icons of our time. Tells the story of Nelson Mandela, as seen through his own eyes and through the recollections of both famous and ordinary people who have played a part in his life.

Over six months, the team of film makers from BBC Current Affairs have had unprecedented access to the former South African President's busy daily life filming him at home with family and friends, and abroad - as he conducts the important business of the Nelson Mandela Foundation - to reveal new insight into the man.

As Nelson himself tells the programme: "I have retired but the one thing that would kill me … if I woke up in the morning and didn't know what to do."

In a series of exclusive interviews with David Dimbleby, he tells the story of his life: about his early years as a country boy in the Transkei and the day he ran away from home to avoid an arranged marriage; about boxing and dancing and girls; his involvement with the ANC and struggle against Apartheid.

Once labelled a terrorist, he was convicted of treason and jailed for 27 years. On Robben Island, interviewed for the first time from his prison cell, he looks back at the good and bad times, and about how prison changed him. And he talks about the knife-edge negotiations that took him to the presidency, the challenges of office, retirement and the issues he's determined not to ignore.

During the recent Earth Resources Summit in Johannesburg world leaders queued to meet and be photographed at his side.

"I've got friends. I am friendly to Tony Blair, Jacques Chirac, Gerhardt Schroder. I'm friendly, I speak to them and I speak also to other world leaders, but now that I've lost power, they don't regard me as a threat and they easily respond to requests that I make."

Speaking on the programme, friend and fellow AIDS campaigner Bill Clinton says: "I admire him, after what they did to him for 27 years … Don't always agree with him … If anyone's earned the right to say what they think, Mandela has. Whenever he rings me up and says 'My President' I know that whatever he asks me to do, I'll end up doing it, whether I want to or not!"

Elsewhere, Mandela talks frankly about his involvement with the ANC and the decision to use violence, if necessary. The ANC was inspired by a revolutionary leader who had triumphed on the other side of the world: Fidel Castro. And in his first interview with the BBC for more than 20 years, Castro talks of the special relationship their two countries shared:

"We struggled together, Africa and Cuba. Together we followed the same path towards freedom. Steeped in revolutionary doctrine and with a spirited fight for freedom, we felt passionately sympathetic for the African struggle."

On a personal note, Mandela talks openly to David Dimbleby about his marriage to Winnie and the influence his father had on his relationships with women:

"My father was a polygamist, he had four wives and I regarded them all as my mothers and their children as my own siblings. In fact, I can go so far as to say, in my younger days I didn't think it was a mistake to have a number of women, you know, because I was copying from my father."

Family friend Amina Cachalia shares her recollections of a younger Mandela: "You know we think of him now and the world thinks of him now as a great statesman, as an icon practically, and yet he was a young man once, and I knew him when he was young, vibrant, warm and friendly and naughty.

"When he met Winnie it was the end of the other girlfriends in a sense. He adored her. He loved her tremendously. He forgot about all the other girls because Winnie was the main attraction of his life."

Mandela is now a celebrity in his own right, often surrounded by stars and welcome at a host of glitzy occasions. The programme films Mandela at the Rebecca film festival and elsewhere hears from Naomi Campbell, w

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