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Oh Winnie

by Andy Davis / 27.11.2010

Brace yourself South Africa… here’s another attempt at rewriting our history Hollywood style. Just as “certain forces” in Hollywood tried to salvage Thabo Mbeki’s legacy by retelling his history as an an action thriller with the straight to DVD flop Endgame, here certain others try to do some “legacy spin” on Winnie Mandela to the tune of a 15 million dollar film. Despite the attentions of Hollywood A-listers Jennifer Hudson as Winnie and Terrence Howard as Madiba, we reckon this is headed the same way. Flush! First off the accents suck, horribly. Secondly there’s that whole thing of Americans playing our leads and telling our stories – even though this is directed by Darrel Roodt and is on all other levels a South African production. And lastly, how does the film attempt to deal with Winnie’s rather besmirched history? Mandela FC, Stompie Seipei, her divorce from ol Madiba. Does it offer a no holds barred reflection? Or is it just a case of historical aggrandizing and myth making. We can only hope. What’s certain is that both Thabo Mbeki and Winnie Mandela know the power of controlling and re-representing your history on celluloid. Just as Winston Churchill said: “History is written by the victors.”

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