Wednesday 6 November 2013

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom x Press Conference: Johannesburg, South Africa

There goes Jerri confidently driving to Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund instead of the Nelson Mandela Foundation. The correct venue where the Press Briefing for MANDELA: Long walk To Freedom (the movie) was hosted by Anant Singh , Justin Chardwick , Idris Elba , Naomie Harris , Terry Pheto , Tokyo Sexwale and Zindzi Mandela.

I stepped in to the building and went on to the door to sass out the auditorium and seating plans. I felt intimidated because the space was filled with a sea of gigantic video cameras and sophisticated long expensive camera lenses. Here is a trick, nothing can ever intimidate you when you look good and smell amazing so I simply upped the cologne factor!

I noticed a friendly looking man by the door who seemed friendly enough to approach and looked mildly stressed enough to give me the hint that he must be someone with insights of what is cooking in the pot. My first question to him was “is the cast inside already? Is Idris Elba here?” Two questions he chose to ignore but casually told me to get inside the auditorium and take a seat.

Instead of doing as I was told I quickly did the Math and came to a conclusion that the lead stars were not seated inside already therefore I just stepped back and lingered in the foyer. Two minutes of me just hanging out, from a lower level staircase up ascened Terry Pheto looking like a star she is and I just died but took my pictures before my hypothetical death – a gurl has gots to focus.  

Another petite lady followed Terry from down the stairs. Waltz past me to chat to her manager or something, and then I quickly ask Terry: “Who is that, is that Naomie?” To which she answers, Yes. I am like SCORE! I then photographed both of them together. Instead of jumping in and asking for a picture between them I just chilled and observed the two ladies’ engagements in the foyer before entering the room.

From there on I sort of realised there was not going to be any Idris Elba sighting at this conference; fact which Anant Singh confirmed during the conference - medical reasons. He was in a flight; he had an asthma attack and he got off loaded.  

My observation of the ladies was more for a session to devise who they were wearing. I saw Naomie had Chrissy Louises on because the bleeding red sole blinded me as she sashayed in to the press room. I asked Naomie who she was wearing, she told but i forgot.  Shit happens when you don’t carry a notebook or a Dictaphone.

Terry’s outfit items I couldn’t pin point at all but had my suspicions that she might have been wearing Louis Vuitton as she was in Cape Town the previous night for a Louis Vuitton Cape Town City Guide event. My suspicions were confirmed when said told me over Twitter that she did indeed wear Louis V eerthang!

Highlights of the conference:

Tokyo Sexwale a beautiful, engaging, witty and sincere introduction he made as he opened the press conference. He will remind you of that larger than life sophisticated (by societal ranking) and outspoken uncle you have or you wish you have. He made it vocal that although there are many other people who were there during those times and fought for the liberation movement who are not highlighted – like himself. This movie is about Madiba, but he is looking in to making his own movie which will be called: Long Walk To Freedom: What Madiba Left Out.

 After the press conference he made it his mission to haul poor Naomie Harris from the press room on a tour to the Madiba’s former office. It was quite a spectacle to see how he was swatting all media off Naomie. I guess somebody had to do it but it was funny observing that somebody being Tokyo. Photobomber Alert.

Terry Pheto unashamedly admitting that, she would have taken any role to be part of the movie even if it meant being cast as an extra. 

Zindzi Mandela’s tear-jerking memorial recital of her troubling past as a young girl; the emotions and the shit she went through when her house used to get broken in to by the Afrikaaner polisie in the middle of the night and how they would drag her mother (Winnie Mandela) kicking and screaming out of the house. A sad situation which left her looking after herself and her little sister in many occasions; whilst their mother was incarcerated and their father held at Robben Island. The scene is beautifully depicted in the film too. 

Justin Chadwick despite him being a genius and totally adorable, his unassuming nature and humble demeanour just made me smile. (You could confuse him for Antonio Benderas’s little brother – must be the long luscious mane). He spoke positively about South Africa and how he enjoyed every single moment of making the film. As a Manchester born and raise lad.  He admitted to having being uncomfortable about being asked to tell the story but ultimately he managed to deliver whole heartedly. One point that he made was that people must remember that this is a movie and it is impossible to document a man’s life in to a single film, he had to focus on other parts more than the other – fair enough. 

 Tony Kgoroge who took an advantage of all the media to shamelessly plug his side music project he worked on with Idris Elba whilst in between filming. Let us ignore his handsomely blessed physical aesthetics for now, no matter how much those perfect sparkly pearly white teeth blind us. His role in the movie is quite big but you won’t know this until you have watched it. I mean it seems like Walter Sisulu was Madiba’s BFF. 

Atandwa Kani took us down memory lane and how cold it was when he filmed some of his scenes as the young Madiba in the Drakensburg. He kept on emphasizing how could it was and he burst out in laughter. When I watched the movie it all made sense – must have had something to that full frontal nude scene with a congregation of other boys whilst they dive in to the lake. 
Never mind the major detail that I had an exam on the following Monday (judge me). Sunday I attended the movie premiere which was filled with more media houses, A-list celebrities and high ranking government officials and business tycoons.

 After watching the #MandelaLWTF  I am completely obsessed with Winnie Mandela, what a DIVA, what a POWERHOUSE! Say what you may, local actress of nie Naomie Harris killed that Winnie Mandela role! Gurl gone done delivered an Oscar deserving performance. If I had a magic wand with super extraordinary powers I would have wished a upon a star for Sello Maake Ka Ncube to have played Nelson Mandela that is just for patriotism reasons. Idris Elba’s performance was nothing short of sensational.

The cinematography - sheer brilliance - the vivid portrayal of the breath taking landscape of the rural Transkei is unbelievable. I felt like taking a road trip to go explore the Eastern Cape right away!

MOST IMPORTANTLY: Costume designers; Diana Cilliers and Ruy Filipe did an flawless job in the wardrobe department. Last movie I watched that left me jizzing my slacks about costume design was CHANGELING lead by Angelina Jolie

The movie will be first released in South Africa on the 28 November 2013 and thereafter later on in the US. Justin Chadwick mentioned that it is only right that South Africans get to see the film first.

So go out there buy tickets and create box office records. I am definitely watching it again once it is nationally released.

Thanks to DNA Brand Architects for DOING BEST!

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