Dear Mandela

Three young South African shack dwellers resist mass eviction from their slums while leading a new generation who follow in Mandela's footsteps.

The South African government has promised to 'eradicate the slums' by 2014. Government workers are evicting shack dwellers from their homes at gunpoint in scenes eerily reminiscent of apartheid-era forced removals. Determined to stop the bulldozers that are destroying homes and communities, a new social movement made up of the nation's poorest is challenging the evictions on the streets and in the courts. DEAR MANDELA brings us into the everyday lives of three dynamic leaders of the movement. Mazwi, an enlightened schoolboy; Zama, an AIDS orphan and Mnikelo, a mischievous shopkeeper are the young lions who follow in the footsteps of Mandela. Combining stunning RED footage with gritty Flip camera clips shot by the characters themselves, DEAR MANDELA takes viewers on a visually arresting journey from the crumbling shantytowns of Durban to the magnificent halls of Johannesburg's Constitutional Court. As the beloved Mandela's portrait beams down from schoolroom chalkboards and shack walls, Mazwi, Zama and Mnikelo grapple with their individual role in shaping a country besieged by rapidly expanding slums, daily violent protests and deepening corruption. 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.


In production


  • Sundance Institute Grant Recipient
  • Pangea Day Outstanding Filmmaker Award

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Production team