Starring Academy Award® winner Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls) and Academy Award nominee Terrence Howard (Hustle & Flow), Winnie Mandela is an epic story of love, sacrifice and courage.
Moving from a remote tribal village to the sprawling metropolis of Johannesburg, South Africa, a proud young Winnie (Jennifer Hudson) soon found love with a rising political star, Nelson Mandela (Terrence Howard). When Nelson was imprisoned for protesting the brutal Apartheid government, Winnie worked tirelessly to win his freedom and to carry on his message of peace and equality. Her struggle to keep the Mandela dream alive was rewarded by years of persecution and imprisonment, including 18 months of solitary confinement. Throughout, her resolve to fight for her freedom, her family and her country never wavered. Her leadership and unconquerable spirit caught the attention of the world and earned her the name “the mother of the nation.”
Academy Award®-winner Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls) portrays Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and Academy Award®-nominee Terrence Howard (Hustle & Flow) plays the role of Nelson Mandela in the epic motion picture, Winnie Mandela. Writer/Director Darrell James Roodt (Cry, the Beloved Country; Sarafina!) helms this South African/Canadian co-production, written by André Pieterse and Roodt. WINNIE MANDELA is produced by André Pieterse of Ma-Afrika Films, and Michael Mosca of Equinoxe Films, Canada.
Said Jennifer Hudson, “I was compelled and moved by the script. Winnie Mandela is a complex and extraordinary woman and I’m honored to be the actress asked to portray her. This is a powerful part of history that should be told.”
“Their story is one of the most inspirational, true love stories of all time,” remarked Terrence Howard.
“We are honored to be making this film and to be working with the brilliant Jennifer Hudson and Terrence Howard. This is inspired casting; two of Hollywood’s great talents,” commented producers André Pieterse and Michael Mosca.
Winnie Mandela is directed by Darrell James Roodt whose film, Yesterday, was the first from South Africa to be nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Foreign Language Film. Pieterse and Roodt wrote the screenplay for Winnie Mandela, based on the book Winnie Mandela: A Life, by Anné Mariè du Preez Bezdrob, a former journalist.
Said Roodt, “The story of Winnie Mandela offers a unique perspective on the South African narrative. Most importantly, I want to focus on the beautiful and tragic love story of Nelson and Winnie Mandela, which was crushed by what history did to them. It is tragic that a woman who dedicated most of her adult life to him, ended up divorcing him. As a director, I am humbled to have artists such as Jennifer Hudson and Terrence Howard to work with.”
Principal photography took 13 weeks on location in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Transkei Mountains (the birthplace of Winnie Mandela) and Robben Island – where Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in incarceration, before he became his country’s first Black president.