16 years went into the making of the feature film Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom
, a biopic based on Mandela's bestselling autobiography. Danny Schechter, who has spent 40 years getting to know Mandela, was asked to make a non-fiction documentary about the biopic and this book is his companion to the feature, the documentary, and Mandela's life itself.
In Schechter's words:
"What do we see when we see Nelson Mandela? Many of those who adore him projected on to him a god-like persona as political superman. Others projected on to him the qualities they wanted or feared. For many years, his government silenced him as a faceless terrorist and communist. Others saw him as a savior who single-handedly won freedom for South Africa. Many of us only saw the political mission, not the man behind it, and, when we did, what man was that? Was it the victim turned victor, prisoner turned President, the lone hero and political magician or the wise leader of a liberation movement? He was courted by kings and queens, the biggest names in show business and world leaders--who appealed to his often unseen vanity--but despite some compromises and co-optation, he largely stayed true to the values that shaped and guided him becoming, as he aged, even more reflective and self-aware."
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