For a guy who, towards the end of his life, was a smiley, friendly (old) guy with a signature dance move and his own brand of shirts, Madiba's life is depicted to be quite serious in films about his life (think Long Walk To Freedom, Mandela's Gun, Invictus etc). Granted that the guy had a whole mountain to move (apartheid) and a whole country to save from war, there were parts of Mandela that were quite light-hearted and dare we say... fun.
So, in the spirit of Madiba-lite, we had fun repurposing parts of his life into some classic movie titles you may recognise. Here's our top 6:
1. The Fighter (2010)
Here's a movie title that would perfectly capture a part of Madiba's life we haven't really had the privilege of seeing – his life as a boxer. Though short-lived, his story about boxing is very interesting. In his book Long Walk to Freedom, Mandela spoke of his love of the science of boxing. We imagine a tale that could be told about how Madiba (the freedom fighter) used boxing to secretly plot how he'd topple the apartheid government and with each fight, he would be a step closer to the mission. We see fellow revolutionary, Ahmed Kathrada as his boxing coach. It was, after all, Kathrada who said: "Nelson Mandela had annoying habits [in jail] – stationary running. It was noisy and annoying because it started at 4 am or 4.30 am in the morning!"
2. Clear And Present Danger (1994)
Here's a movie title that is actually fitting. Released in 1994, this movie title captures a very interesting time in South Africa's transition to a democratic country. Reimagined, this movie could speak of a soldier (Mandela), who in the dying hours of apartheid saves the country from the last attempt by a cartel of gangsters, who are on a mission to loot the state and flee the country with billions of Rands. At the end of the movie, the soldier (or steringif you like) is gifted with the first banknote with his face on them (Randelas). If only Madiba could come back and save us again...
3. The Godfather (1972)
We all know the classic movie, The Godfather about a patriarch of an organised crime dynasty. Now, can you imagine Madiba being the lead in a different version of The Godfather? This time, we take you back to 1990 when Mandela met a recently widowed Graca Machel. Two years later he becomes, quite literally, the godfather to her children. And then in 1996, Machel and Mandela are seen together at Robert Mugabe's wedding to Grace. In 1998 the two get married and Madiba rules over two countries (SA and Mozambique). We'd pay a lot to watch that movie!
4. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)
In the 2013 movie, Long Walk To Freedom, we see Idris Elba and Atandwa Kani as Nelson Mandela, Tony Kgoroge as Walter Sisulu and Riaad Moosa, Ahmed Kathrada, as well as Fana Mokoena as Govan Mbeki. These incredible actors did a fantastic execution of the movie. However, we'd love to see is an offshoot of this movie (same cast) into a new one that shows how badass these guys were as a team of revolutionaries. This movie would feature secret war room meetings about how they will take the country from the hands of the enemy – complete with the cigar smoking and suits. Can you see it?
5. The Usual Suspects (1995)
This is a pretty obvious one. This classic movie title lends itself to so many variations of a possible movie that could come out of the adventures of a group of freedom fighters who are constantly dodging authorities – think Prison Break but with a more meaningful end goal. This could even be a sequel to the above-mentioned League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, where the revolutionaries get caught during one of their underground meetings in a smoky basement at Lilies Leaf farm. A very interesting movie inspired by Madiba, Tambo, Sisulu, Mbeki and Kathrada's apartheid mission.
6. The Promised Land (2012)
"Let us tell the truth to ourselves, even if the truth coincides with what the enemy is saying." Said Oliver Tambo, as quoted by current Minister of Home Affairs, Ayanda Dlodlo. The truth, as Dlodlo notes in her opinion piece, is that the struggle to restore the dignity of the African through reclaiming our birthright, land, is an ongoing one. One that will not end, until that conversation, is had – a conversation that is not comfortable, as it takes us back to apartheid days.
So, while a movie about the land may raise that contentious discussion about Madiba 'giving away land to white people' and making too many concessions (as Mugabe accused him of), it would be a very relevant and interesting movie to watch.
Catch Madiba every Monday at 21:00 on Discovery Channel – a six part mini-series that is actually about Madiba's life.