Winnie Mandela the movie

For decades, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela lived in the shadow of her husband, Nelson. But now, nearly four years after his death, Winnie’s own story – as the controversial, uncompromising activist who has been largely adored at home yet reviled abroad – is finally being treated as documentary-worthy in its own right.

Winnie, by British filmmaker Pascale Lamche, focuses on the grassroots campaigner in her political heyday. Featuring testimony from Nelson and Winnie’s daughter Zindzi as well as Winnie herself, now 81, it is one of a number of films emerging in African cinema that seeks to redress a long-held status quo – whether that’s about gender, race or politics.

For Lamche, who has made a number of films in and about South Africa, the prevailing narrative about the “rainbow nation” has long required that Nelson be the saint, and Winnie, the sinner.

“Patriarchy operates all over the world,” says Lamche, who won a Sundance directing award for her treatment of Winnie in the film.

Share