Just more than three years after his death, Nelson Mandela may still be too dominant, too regal and too multi-faceted a figure of history for any one book, film or television miniseries to grasp. But BET’s Lawrence Fishburne-starring Madiba certainly makes a powerful and often successful effort out of the task.
Debuting tomorrow and running February 8 and February 15, the Kevin Hooks-directed Madiba, shot in South Africa, has its flaws. But, as I say in my video review above, the three-part miniseries is also epic in its proud motivation of revealing what real leadership is. With The Matrix alum and Oscar nominee Fishburne as Mandela plus strong performances by Orlando Jones and Supergirl’s David Harewood as fellow African National Congress leaders, and Terry Pheto as the tenacious Winnie Mandela, the six-hour Madiba is TV well worth watching this Black History Month.
Based on the books Conversations With Myself and Nelson Mandela By Himself, the mini penned by Paul Webb, Janine Eser, Avie Luthra and Greg Beer is also more an examination of the great movement theory of history that the great man approach. As a result, the well-paced Madiba impressively details how Mandela, who became President of South Africa in 1994 after being thrown behind bars for decades by the country’s racist Apartheid regime, worked with many players and moving pieces in his fight for justice.
Take a look at my video review of Madiba above to see more of my take on the BET miniseries, and watch on Wednesday when the first two parts premiere. I think you’ll want to return for more.