Regal Radio’s man in NYC, Scoop B, dispatches the latest that we should know in sports and pop culture from the East Coast and beyond
Brandon Robinson, WARR contributor
Nelson Mandela is respected the world over for bravery, peace advocacy, resiliency and honor.
Mandela’s harrowing 27-year experience in Robben Island Prison in Capetown, South Africa after being convicted of conspiracy to overthrow the South African government — guilty itself of countless crimes against the black population in the name of apartheid — stands as one of the defining stories of leadership and sacrifice that the 20th Century produced.
In America, a statue of the former president of both South Africa and the African National Congress was unveiled in mid-September at the newly renovated South African Embassy in Washington, D.C. to commemorate one of the most admired men alive today.
“My father is a very modest man,” Mandela’s daughter, Zindzi, recently told Regal Radio.
Also in September, the 1993 Nobel Peace Price recipient and his wife Graca Machel were honored at the United Nations’ South-South Awards, held at the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan. The South-South Awards is a gala recognizing exceptional contributions from heads of state and government. Mandela received his South-South Award for Humanitarian Achievement and Machel also received one for Humanitarian Achievement Recognition. The couple’s daughters, Zindzi Mandela and Josina Machel, accepted the awards on their behalf.
The awards given were in collaboration with Shock-Ra Entertainment and mark the first time both Mandela and Machel have been awarded together for their humanitarian work.
“He’s humble and grateful that he’s part of the legacy of the people that came before him and inspired him,” Zindzi Mandela said of her father.
Naomi Campbell, a family friend to the Mandelas, is also happy for the recognition they’re receiving.
“What comes to mind is truly, truly a unique human being that has sacrificed a lot for others,” Campbell told Regal Radio.
“I always pinch myself and say ‘do I really know him?,’” Campbell said.
Having turned 95 years old in July, Mandela has suffered from a lung infection for much of 2013 and is under intensive care at his home in Johannesburg after a series of health scares over the summer.
In November, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, a biopic film directed by the Emmy-nominated Justin Chadwick (The First Grader, The Other Boleyn Girl) hits US big screens. Starring Idris Elba (The Wire, The Office, Takers) as Nelson and Naomie Harris (Pirates of the Caribbean, 28 Days Later, Miami Vice) as Winnie Mandela, the film highlights Mandela’s journey from his childhood growing up in a village in Africa through his development as a freedom fighter on to his later years after his prison release, leading to his inauguration as the first democratically elected president of South Africa.
The film is based off Mandela’s autobiography of the same name and is the most expensive production ever produced by a South African film company at $35 million.
Zindzi Mandela has already viewed the movie and likes what she has seen.
“I found it very therapeutic,” she said. “What I liked about the Long Walk to Freedom is that it talks to my father as a boy who grew up in an African Village and the impact that he had on the international sphere on the global level.”
Campbell has a pretty demanding schedule these days, including the development of her new show The Face, and admits that she has not seen the new Mandela biopic in its entirety, but she plans to watch it soon.
“I’ve seen 40 minutes of it while the music was being played to it but I haven’t seen the end, but I’m going to South Africa for that premiere,” Campbell said. “I think everyone knows pretty much about him ― how humble, how much humility he has.”
What about the British actor taking on the role of the iconic Mandela in the film? Elba has played some intimidating men in the past, such as crime boss Russell “Stringer” Bell in the acclaimed HBO drama The Wire, but this likely a defining role. As far as Zindzi is concerned, his casting came with certain perks.
“I always joke and say that I get to call Idris Elba daddy anytime,” joked Zindzi Mandela. “He brought so much depth to the role he played ― and I liked that he even tried to emulate his accent.”
So how good was his accent?
“I think he did a good job, he actually brought him alive,” she said.
Look for Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom in theaters November 29.
For additional info on Mandela: A Long Walk to Freedom visit: http://www.mandelamovie.co.za
For more information on Shock RA Entertainment visit: www.shockraentertainment.com
Brandon Robinson is a contributor to Regal Radio. He’s a digital journalist who covers sports and pop culture. You can find his work in VIBE, SLAM, TD DAILY, Ebony, CBS Interactive and Da Laughing Barrel.com. He is also a lecturer at NJIT in Newark, NJ. You can follow him on Twitter @Scoop B and see more of his work here.