Nelson Mandela passed away Thursday at the age of 95. Imprisoned from 1962 to 1990, the former South African president (1994-1999) fought to abolish apartheid and worked to end poverty. Known as “The Father of a Nation” the celebrated leader was the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize winner and received the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom, among many other honors.
It’s no surprise that his inspirational story has made its way to the big screen. In addition to the current film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, which is in theaters now, the South African leader has been the subject of several feature films and documentaries in recent years. Below, check out five iconic portrayals of Mandela in pop culture.
1.) Idris Elba is currently portraying Mandela in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, directed by Justin Chadwick. The biopic, about his life from childhood to his election as president of South Africa, was just released on Nov. 28. Check out an interview with Elba about playing Mandela:
2.) Morgan Freeman portrayed Mandela in Invictus, a 2009 film directed by Clint Eastwood based on the book Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game that Made a Nation, that highlighted the role of the 1995 Rugby World Cup win in post-apartheid South Africa.
3.) Terrence Howard played Mandela in the film Winnie, a movie about Mandela’s ex-wife Winnie Mandela (Jennifer Hudson). It premiered at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival, and was released in the U.S. Sept. 6.
4.) In the 2007 film Goodbye Bafana (released on DVD in the United States as The Color of Freedom) Dennis Haysbert took on the iconic Mandela. This picture chronicled Mandela’s relationship with prison guard James Gregory. Mandela was imprisoned from 1962 to 1990.
5.) To learn more, check out the PBS documentary The Long Walk of Nelson Mandela featuring actual footage and archive interviews with the celebrated leader himself.
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