December 12, 2013
By Shonassee Shaver
LAWT Contributing Writer
Former South Africa President Nelson Mandela’s passed December 5. He leaves behind a political and social existence that continues to grace the nation as well as the screen. Mandela, 95, had been in poor health since June. Hollywood continues to pay homage to the Anti-Apartied leader with the anticipated biopic “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” open in select cities and releases nationwide on December 25. The film tracks his life as a young man, his journey from being incarcerated for 27 years to becoming South Africa’s first black president. “I am stunned at this very moment, in mourning with the rest of the world and Madiba’s family,” Elba told the news. “What an honor it was to step into the shoes of Nelson Mandela,” the actor continued, “and portray a man who defied odds, broke down barriers, and championed human rights before the eyes of the world. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Mandela’s life and career has been the object of interest before, in “Invictus” (2009) with Morgan Freeman who portrayed Mandela’s involvement with South Africa’s rugby team where he worked to bridge sports and the country during the 1995 Rugby World Cup Championship. “Today the world lost one of the true giants of the past century,” reported nydailynews.com. “Nelson Mandela was a man of incomparable honor, unconquerable strength, and unyielding resolve, a saint to many, a hero to all who treasure liberty, freedom and the dignity of humankind.”
Jennifer Hudson captured the origin of Winnie Mandela’s marriage to the South African Leader in the film “Winnie Mandela” in (2011), released this year in the U.S.
“The Mandela family is in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. Mr. Mandela fought for freedoms and equality that changed the face of South Africa and the world. We can all learn from his extraordinary journey,” she told ABC News.
Terrence Howard stated, “Mandela shall be missed but his spirit remains with us as long as we remember the principal of greater love for one another and respect for oneself,” Howard said. “Rest well brother until the world cries again for the warmth of your brilliant light!”
Sidney Poitier played in “Mandela and de Klerk” (1997) depicting Nelson Mandela’s political relationship with FW de Klerk, the last president of apartheid-era South Africa. Their efforts to bring democracy to South Africa earned them Nobel Peace Prize.
Others actors to respond to the passing of Mandela:
Alfre Woodard recalls meeting Mandela, “So I went and I wrapped my arms around him, and I said to him in his ear, ‘Oh Madiba, Madiba. How are you? Have you eaten? Have you slept?’ And it became a really funny thing because ‘Nobody has asked me that, Alfre, in my entire travels,’” Woodard said with a laugh. “So that sort of became the basis of our relationship.”
Jada Pinket Smith wrote on her twitter account, “The world lost a great man, powerful spirit and that simply made me…sad. Rest in peace, Madiba.”
Oprah released a statement “One of the great honors of my life was to be invited to Nelson Mandela’s home, spend private time and get to know him. He was everything you've ever heard and more, humble and unscathed by bitterness. And he always loved to tell a good joke. Being in his presence was like sitting with grace and majesty at the same time.”
According to the Associated Press, Danny Glover received an award at the Bahamas International Film Festival a day after the death of the 95-year-old former South African president and anti-apartheid activist. He earned an Emmy nomination for portraying him in the 1987 TV film “Mandela.”
“I think this is particularly special because it comes the day after the transition of someone who I never in my lifetime thought I would get the chance to meet, and someone who became a friend. He used to affectionately call me, ‘Danny boy,’” Glover recalled.
Mandela has always been influential to music; Stevie Wonder’s song “It’s Wrong” (1985) helped to end apartied. The singer was arrested the same year for protesting outside the South African Embassy in Washington, D.C.
Regarding his song, “I wanted to speak out, and do it in a way where people will feel the rhythm of it, but also get the message across, and a peaceful way that’s also strong,” Stevie Wonder told the New York Times in an interview in 1985.
Wyclef stated “The way we all can carry the legacy of Nelson Mandela is practice what we preach,” the hip-hop veteran continued. “We should fight for the idea of equal rights and justice. The idea of fighting for a better world; the idea of we don’t want wars no more, we should fight for that,” reported theboombox.com.
He honored Madiba with a song, “He’s was ready for the firing squad / To die for equal rights and justice / I wrote this song ’cause I shook the hands of the prophet, Nelson Mandela.”
Jay Z gave tribute to the South African leader performing “Young Forever,” during his concert at the Staple Center on Monday. “We want to dedicate this song to Nelson Mandela. Great man, who spent 27 years in prison, came out to be president. All dreams are possible,” he told the crowd.
Beyoncé remembered Mandela instragamming a photo of her and Mandela at the “Meeting Mandela: A Staying Alive Special” documentary, she captioned Thank you for all you have sacrificed to improve the lives of other human beings. Rest in peace.”