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Video Librarian - September/October 2009

Viva Nelson Mandela: A Hero for All Seasons***1/2

(2008) 95 min. DVD: $19.95. Choices, Inc. PPR. ISBN: 978-1-933724-28-7.

Catherine Meyburgh’s outstanding biographical profile of Nelson Mandela, who celebrated his 90th birthday on July 18, 2008, chronicles the Noble Peace Prize winner’s life: his early adult years as one of the few black attorneys in South Africa, his 27 years of imprisonment under apartheid (Mandela was released in 1990), his years as the country’s president (1994-99), and more. Combining archival footage with interviews of politicians, colleagues, and friends from his days in the African National Congress up to contemporary times, Viva Nelson Mandela takes viewers on a journey that explores Mandela’s fight for equality, marked by enormous sacrifices, as well as a legendary equanimity (many commentators point to the fact that Mandela is that rare person who can remain focused on the big picture, enduring much without being distracted or deterred from his goal). Although the documentary features no film of Mandela’s incarceration—relying instead on personal anecdotes to fill in the gaps—the footage capturing Mandela’s bold, public position against then South African president F.W. de Klerk’s efforts to prolong white minority rule is still powerful. DVD extras include a lesson plan/guidebook. Highly recommended. Aud: H, C, P. (T. Keogh)

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