Nelson Mandela Documentary: How Long Was the South African President in Prison?

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Written By Sedoso Feb

A recent Variety report revealed that there are plans to create a documentary about the late former South African president, Nelson Mandela. Even though confirmation is pending, its title is said to be Troublemaker: The Story Behind the Mandela Tapes. Furthermore, the director at its helm is the very talented, Antoine Fuqua. Fuqua is best known for directing hit movies like Training Day, King Arthur, The Equalizer trilogy, and more.

Troublemaker: The Story Behind the Mandela Tapes will contain newly discovered audio interviews with the anti-apartheid activist. Furthermore, the goal of this project is to showcase the subject’s story with utmost accuracy and honesty. Even after a decade after his death, Nelson Mandela remains a global symbol of kindness, justice, and integrity. According to this documentary’s logline, Mandela spent 27 years of his life in prison.

Interestingly, this project’s executive producer is Mandela’s former cellmate Mac Maharaj. According to Variety, the late former South African president and Maharaj spent 12 years alongside each other in a small cell on Robben Island. Reports suggest that the latter transcribed Mandela’s autobiography and eventually smuggled it out of jail. Furthermore, Mac Maharaj later became a minister in Mandela’s government.

The official logline of the upcoming project reads, “Using recently discovered audio interviews of Mandela intimately recounting his life experiences, as well as the personal reflections and insights of Maharaj, the film will reveal the forces that shaped the global icon that is Nelson Mandela.”

It further reads, “Jailed for 27 years, this pioneering activist lawyer turned freedom fighter walked from prison into a country on the brink of a violent racial conflagration to become the first democratically elected president of South Africa.”

Antoine Fuqua states that he has appreciated Nelson Mandala throughout his life

According to Variety, Antoine Fuqua stated that he has looked up to Nelson Mandela throughout his life. Furthermore, he said that the upcoming project will even delve into his political ruthlessness. Reports suggest that even though the South African icon showcased a ‘nice guy’ persona, he was a tough politician.

Fuqua stated, “It’s an honor to bring to the screen the untold story of Mandela. A man I’ve revered my entire life. For decades, Mandela and his comrades were put through the most inhumane conditions imaginable. Yet they came out of jail with love and forgiveness in their hearts. And rather than seeking vengeance, they sought to unite the country. His compassion and inner strength enabled Mandela to make meaningful change.”

He further said, “This film will investigate how Mandela came through his ordeals with his humanity intact, and reveal the tough and shrewd politician behind his iconic ‘nice guy’ persona. I’m incredibly fortunate to be partnered on this project with Mac Maharaj, whose experiences, intelligence, and encyclopedic memory of his years alongside Mandela are invaluable.

Executive Director Mac Maharaj added, “I have longed to see the story of Nelson Mandela. And his decades-long fight and sacrifice for freedom, equality, and justice told in an authentic, complex, and revelatory way.

He ended his statement by saying,

“It is a story that is more relevant to humanity today, than ever. I am thrilled that a director of Antoine Fuqua’s skill, creativity, and integrity has agreed to take on this challenging task.”

Nelson Mandela was the president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He passed away in 2013 at the age of 95.


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