Dogwoof boards Mandela: Life doc

By Content Nigeria reporter
May 31, 2024

Mandela: Life, from acclaimed South African filmmaker Mandla Dube

A documentary series about African political titan Nelson Mandela is in development with acclaimed South African filmmaker Mandla Dube (Silverton Siege, Heart of the Hunter) attached and a distribution deal in place.

Mandela: Life is a five-part series that will document Mandela’s extraordinary life and the most dramatic period in South African history – 1984 to 1994 – aka the Deadly Decade during which thousands of people died in political violence.

Directed by Dube, the series is authorised by the Nelson Mandela Foundation with exclusive permission to recreate Nelson Mandela’s voice from his personal archive and to feature previously unreleased material and unpublished letters written by him from prison.

The Foundation has granted New Zealand-based publisher Blackwell & Ruth, its long-time creative partner and publisher of five Mandela books, exclusive permission to make the series. Blackwell & Ruth is partnering with Dube as director and will coproduce the series with his Pretoria-based production company Pambili Media.

The series has been in development for two years, according to the producers, and will be ready for global release on Freedom Day, April 27, 2025, the 31st anniversary of South Africa’s first democratic election. London-based distributor Dogwoof Films is attached for international sales.

Mandela: Life “will be Nelson Mandela’s own story in his own words, narrated in his voice,” according to Dogwoof. Made in collaboration with the archive and research team comprising Verne Harris, Razia Saleh and Sahm Venter, the series “aims to be the most rigorously researched, in-depth and personal longform documentary portrait of his life ever produced.”

“The series is being created in a world defined by violence, precarity, fundamentalism and division. It is a moment when Nelson Mandela’s story and the dramatic events that unfolded in South Africa from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s can serve to inspire a new generation to believe that even the deepest generational division and hatred can be overcome,” added the UK distributor.