Lifestyle & Belief

Nelson Mandela TV miniseries, "Madiba," in the works


Nelson Mandela looks at a copy of his new book "Nelson Mandela, by himself" a book of quotations from him book. The book was launched June 27 at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Houghton, Johannesburg.


Debbie Yazbek/Nelson Mandela Foundation

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Nelson Mandela's life story is being turned into a TV miniseries. 

The $20-million, six-part series is titled "Madiba," which is Mandela's family clan name and a term of respect for him commonly used by South Africans.

But there is no word yet on who will be cast as Mandela. In the 2009 film "Invictus," he was played by Morgan Freeman. Other actors who have played him include Sydney Poitier, Terrence Howard and Dennis Haysbert.

Mandela, 93, has reportedly given his blessing to the miniseries. It will be shot later this year in South Africa. 

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According to Variety, the "Madiba" project is being put together by the UK's Left Bank Pictures, Canada's Blue Ice Films and South Africa's Out of Africa Entertainment.

Mandela's grandson, Kweku Mandela, is a co-producer on the series with Out of Africa. 

The British filmmakers involved in the production were also behind the 2009 film "The Damned United," and the recently released biopic "The Lady," about Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The producers are in talks with TV broadcasters in the US and UK, the Guardian reported

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According to the Guardian, the six-hour miniseries will span six decades of Mandela's life.

This includes his leadership in the African National Congress, his imprisonment for 27 years and his election as South Africa's first black president in 1994.

Variety reported that producers are using two of Mandela's books as source material: "Nelson Mandela by Himself," a book of authorized quotations, and "Conversations with Myself," a collection of letters, diaries and recordings that shows a more personal side of Nelson Mandela.

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Kweku Mandela said the aim of the miniseries is to give a more complete picture of his grandfather, and to go beyond the image of "Mandela the saint." 

"I felt if we were going to do this, it was important to put the focus on the man," he told Variety. "That's why in the research for this, it's important that we get as close to his thoughts as we can. The people who helped guide him and shape him as a person will be strong characters."

Three of Mandela's grandchildren are starring in a reality TV show called "Being Mandela" about their lives as young businesswomen and socialites. The show is to be aired sometime this year.

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