A Letter to Nelson Mandela

The film explores how diverse global leaders interpret Nelson Mandela’s message of freedom, forgiveness and reconciliation. Trying to avoid the danger of a single true story, the film combines Khalo Matabane’s personal reflections with the thoughts of the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Kofi Annan, Joachim Gauck or Arundhati Roy as well as artists, thinkers and activists from around the globe.


A Letter to Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela is viewed as one of the greatest political icons of the 20th century. His message of freedom, forgiveness and reconciliation has inspired people across the globe. He was elected as the first democratic president of South Africa. At the current old age of 94, his health is failing. With this there is the looming high possibility of his death offering thereby the opportunity to reflect upon his legacy beyond sainthood. His message of reconciliation will remain while being reinterpreted in different parts of the planet.

The film wants to avoid the danger of a single story. The idea is not to find one indisputable truth but to tell Mandela’s story including the rough edges that defined this important man and his thoughts.

The personal take of the South African author and director Khalo Matabane plays a key role in this concept. How was he personally influenced by Mandela? Do others feel the same way? Khalo Matabane choses two different approaches. On one hand he will write a personal letter to Mandela guiding through the film. On the other hand he will interview important personalities such as the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Kofi Annan, Joachim Gauck or Arundhati Roy (and many more) to find out their perception of Mandela’s philosophy and life’s work. Critique may just as well be pronounced as approval and veneration.

This global project will include diverse settings, varying from the war plagued South Sudanese Juba to the worldwide protesters’ movement up to Johannesburg’s slums.

Koproduktion