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Native festival honours women

From successfully championing the fight against domestic violence and female genital mutilation to supporting girl child education, it is clear that women’s rights have been prioritised in this country. On Friday, Sarah Nsigaye’s Native festival seemed to have women in mind too, as it screened Winnie Mandela at the National Theatre gardens. The film had originally been scheduled to screen during the Womanhood festival in March but due to unknown circumstances, this never happened.

The Friday screening was Winnie; A Woman That Inspired A Nation, and attracted a number of revellers. The film follows the life of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela (Jennifer Hudson), from her strict rural upbringing by a father disappointed she was not born a boy, to her giving up the chance to study in America in order to remain in South Africa where she felt more needed.

It also explores her husband Nelson Mandela’s (Terrence Howard) imprisonment, the continuous harassment by police, banishment to a small town, betrayal, and periods in solitary confinement.

Winnie Mandela’s biopic stands out in a field of movies that offer up sanitized, classroom-ready biographies of famous people. This is a movie to be remembered for proving that Jennifer Hudson’s Dream Girls performance was no fluke; here, she hits a vast array of notes even though she doesn’t get to sing until the final credits.

The movie, however, stumbles when it comes to depicting the couple’s painful separation and divorce, which the film suggests resulted more from politics and a difference in ideologies, ignoring the other well-known domestic factors. But the strong performance of the two lead actors outweighs the project’s flaws; still a good way to celebrate women. Belatedly.

kaggwandre@gmail.com

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