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Films 2015 - South Africa - Dear Mandela

Dear Mandela

Director: Dara Kell & Christopher Nizza, 2011

Language: English and Zulu
93 minutes – South Africa / USA

SYNOPSIS: When the South African government promises to ‘eradicate the slums’ and begins evicting shack dwellers from their homes, three friends who live in Durban’s vast shantytowns refuse to be moved. They are part of a new generation who feel betrayed by the broken promises of Mandela’s own political party, the African National Congress. DEAR MANDELA follows their journey from their shacks to the highest court in the land as they invoke Nelson Mandela’s example and become leaders in an inspiring social movement. Determined to stop the evictions, they meet with their communities by candlelight and discover that the new innocuous-sounding ‘Slums Act’ legalizes the evictions and violate the rights enshrined in the country’s landmark constitution. With the help of pro bono lawyers, they challenge the Slums Act all the way to Constitutional Court.

The extraordinary achievements of the shack dwellers donot come without a price. As the beloved Mandela's portrait beams down from schoolroom chalkboards and shack walls, the three learn of the sacrifices that come with leadership. Shack demolitions, assassination attempts, and government repression test their resolve to continue. By turns devastating, inspiring, and funny, DEAR MANDELA offers a new perspective on the role that young people can play in political change and is a fascinating portrait of South Africa coming of age. This is the remarkable story of Abahlali BaseMjondolo – Zulu for ‘people of the shacks,’ and is considered the largest movement of the poor to emerge in post-apartheid South Africa.

Winner, Grand Jury Prize, Brooklyn Film Festival Winner; Best Documentary, Brooklyn Film Festival Winner; Best South African Documentary, Durban International Film Festival; African Academy Award Nominee For Best Documentary Winner