Monday, January 28, 2013

Dear Mandela (2012)

Dara Kell & Christopher Nizza's Dear Mandela is going to be making it's U.S. Broadcast TV Premiere on the World Channel tomorrow night at 7PM as part of AfroPop's season5.  The film is a look at the problems in the country, specifically the problems relating to housing, within South Africa since the end of apartheid.

Focusing on the lives of several activists and the people they are helping the film deals with how the government is dealing with people who are living in shacks simply because there are no homes for them. Whipping the houses together in a day or so the houses are collected together in in formal settlements  that run the risk of being knocked down by various government agencies who don't want them up. The film highlights problems with the so called reformed system by looking at this one issue. (The title comes from letters written to Nelson Mandela who everyone is certain could fix the problem is he only knew about it)

A well made and heart felt film this is an intellectually enlightening film that makes it clear, or clearer that just because the system has been cosmetically changed doesn't mean that everything is all right with the world. As the film shows more often then not the only time the government officials want anything to do with the people in the settlements is when they want them gone or when they want  votes come election time. It's a sad story that didn't quite enrage me as it should have.

I'm not going to lie to you, I like the film but I admire it more than I like it. I like it instead of loving it because while it intellectually challenged me to take off a kind of rose colored glasses, it never engaged me emotionally. I watched the film and followed the film with a certain amount of distance. I should have gotten to the end and been screaming from my seat, that didn't happen. This doesn't mean it's a bad film, it just means its good and not great.

You should make an effort to see the film if you can, and you'll have plenty of opportunity since after the film airs on World it's going to be available streaming:

National TV broadcast on the WORLD Channel
Tuesday January 29, 2013 7pm ET, 9pm PT

New York: WLIW World on Cablevision 132, Time Warner 164, Verizon Fios 473
Philadelphia: WHYY – Boston: WGBH - San Francisco: KQED
January 29 – February 5: free online streaming on
March 1-31: free online streaming on

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