Nelson Mandela’s life story to be made into blockbuster TV mini-series

by Lynn Connolly

It’s been reported today that a budget of £13million has been allocated to filmmaking executives to produce a made-for-TV mini-series which will feature the life story of Nelson Mandela.

The drama – which will be co-produced by Mandela’s grandson, Kweku Mandela and production company Left Bank – is expected to chronicle six decades of 93 year old Mandela’s life, which of course includes his 27 year imprisonment in South Africa.

To be entitled, ‘Madiba’ the story behind the drama has been written by Nigel Williams, whose previous TV plaudits include historical drama Elizabeth I, which starred Helen Mirren.

In South Africa, Mandela is often known as Madiba, which is his Xhosa clan name. He’s also called ‘tata’ which means ‘father’. In his lifetime, Mandela has received more than 250 awards for his selfless contributions to ending apartheid, including the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize.

The scripts for the blockbuster are to be based on two books; the autobiographical ‘Conversations with Myself’ and ‘Nelson Mandela By Himself’, which features authorised quotations.

The makers of Madiba have also reportedly been given access to the archives of the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

Andy Harries, of production company Left Bank, told the Radio Times, “There is a whole generation of people who weren’t even born when Nelson Mandela finally walked free from prison after 27 years in captivity in the early 1990s.

“His story is one that they need to know.”

Kweku Mandela added, “The people who helped guide and shape him will be important characters.

“I felt if we were going to do this, it was important to put the focus on the man.

“That’s why in the research for this it’s important that we get as close to his thoughts as we can.”

Filming is expected to begin later this year on location in South Africa, but as yet, there have been no casting announcements. It’s also not year known which UK broadcaster will air the mini-series.

Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.