Johannesburg - A mysterious tweet from Simphiwe Dana on Wednesday has revealed that she is playing a role inspired by Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in an upcoming movie project called Being Mandela.
The soul star tweeted: “We did fittings yesterday. I’m excited about this role. And I hope to give it the gravitas it deserves. #Nozizwe #BeingMandela.”
Contacted by City Press, Dana directed us to actress and talented film maker Mmabatho Montsho, who is directing the film Joko Ya Hao.
Montsho directed us to her producer, Leo Phiri of Blanket Entertainment, and finally we got to the truth.
Joko Ya Hao, named after the popular hymn, is a 30-minute film, one of three shorts being packaged together to create a 90-minute feature, Being Mandela, that will hopefully play at festivals around the world.
Dana was tweeting from a wardrobe fitting ahead of next week’s filming.
“It’s set in 1955 during the forced evictions and Nozizwe wants to become a preacher, but she’s a woman and there’s no place in the church for her to do that. Until the apartheid regime evicts the church and Nozizwe becomes a symbol of resistance. She is inspired by Winnie Mandela,” explained Phiri.
The film is being produced with the Nelson Mandela Foundation, which will receive all profits it generates.
The second part of Being Mandela, said Phiri, is a film called July 18th. Playing out on Mandela Day, a couple who are fed up with life and unable to feed their sick child, decide to rob a supermarket. As the hostage drama unfolds the characters begin to discuss South Africa’s problems and find a common purpose. The director is Mandla N, who directed the series Lockdown.
The third part of the film is called Finding Nelson. The story line involves a film crew who are shooting Long Walk To Freedom when the lead actor playing Nelson Mandela disappears. He has been kidnapped by a character from his past who must come to forgive him for a mistake made years before.
“Being Mandela is all about tolerance and the power of women,” said Phiri, who hopes the finished product will be able to enjoy a theatre release after touring and before being sold to TV stations.
Dana composed a song for Madikizela-Mandela and has spoken in the past about how the liberation icon has inspired her own life.