Mrs Mandela is the compelling BBC biopic based on Winnie Mandela starring Oscar nominee Sophie Okonedo as Winnie and David Harewood as Nelson. In this programme we get to meet the woman behind the Icon.
Everyone knows the story of Nelson Mandela, man of the people, fighter for the end to Apartheid in South Africa, prisoner and then President. But behind every great man is a great woman. So just who is Winnie Mandela?
This well written drama answers the question bouncing between her husbands 1990 release from prison; to when they first met in 1957 and her 27, sometimes tragic and terrifying years without him.
We see a strong, determined woman who kept Mandela’s struggle alive. She survived a spell in prison, brings the revolution to the sleepy shanty town she is exiled too and gets support from the worldwide media and politicians.
But there is another side to Mrs Mandela; she can be aggressive, stubborn and sometimes downright scary. From her constant use of “I don’t give a fu*k!” to inciting violent protest “with our boxes of matches and our necklaces we shall liberate this country” and being linked to the death of an informant she isn’t your black and white modern day hero. There are shades of grey with her character.
Okonedo plays the feisty heroine with flair and Harewoods accent is eerily spot on.
The Beebs done good. Definitely one to watch.
Mrs Mandela airs on BBC4 at 9pm on the 25th of January, and will be shown later in the year on BBC2.
Words by Mary Bello