DEAR MANDELA UNITED STATES SCREENING TOUR
This month, the Poverty Initiative, together with Sleeping Giant Films, National Economic Social Rights Initiative and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), will host two youth leaders from the Abahlali baseMjondolo (Shackdwellers) movement of South Africa for a month-long exchange and film tour. AbM leaders, Zodwa Nsibande and Mnikelo Ndabankulu, are featured in the award-winning film Dear Mandela. These inspiring leaders will share their experience and analysis of the largest social movement of the poor in post apartheid South Africa, and will engage with young people in 7 cities in a conversation about innovative leadership, bottom-up democracy, and the role of the youth in fighting for our human rights to housing, healthcare and a decent wage.
Beyond the week-long film run at Indiescreen in Brooklyn, NYC Sept. 21-27, the film tour will travel to Boston and Chicago, as well as to visit with leaders in Vermont (Vermont Workers Center), Baltimore (United Workers), Philadelphia (Media Mobilizing Project), and Detroit (Michigan Welfare Rights Organization) amongst others. The tour will end with a visit to Haiti with CCR to meet earthquake survivors living in displacement camps and to screen the new Kreyol version of Dear Mandela.
September 21 – 26: New York, NY
September 27 – 28: Boston, MA
September 29 – 30: Burlington, VT
October 1 – 4: Ithaca, NY
October 7 – 9: Philadelphia, PA
October 10 – 12: Baltimore, PA
October 13 – 14: Detroit, MI
October 15 – 17: Chicago, IL
October 19 – 25: Haiti
ABOUT THE FILM
When the South African government promises to 'eradicate the slums' and begins to evict shack dwellers far outside the city, three friends who live in Durban's vast shantytowns refuse to be moved. DEAR MANDELA follows their journey from their shacks to the highest court in the land as they invoke Nelson Mandela's example and become leaders in a growing social movement. By turns inspiring, devastating and funny, the film offers a new perspective on the role that young people can play in political change and is a fascinating portrait of South Africa coming of age.
DEAR MANDELA had its World Premiere at the Durban International Film Festival in South Africa, where it was awarded the 'Best South African Documentary' prize at the festival. The jury called DEAR MANDELA: 'A movie about courage, this documentary is beautifully shot, socially relevant and still manages to offer humor as it reveals a growing grassroots political literacy in South Africa's informal settlements.' DEAR MANDELA has since screened in cities around the world – in London, Addis Ababa, New York, Prague, Seoul, Vienna and more. At the same time, the film is currently touring cities and rural areas across South Africa throughout 2012. DEAR MANDELA was awarded the top prize – the Grand Chameleon Award – at the Brooklyn Film Festival and the top prize – The Golden Butterfly Award – at the Movies that Matter film festival in The Hague and was recently nominated for an African Academy Award.
SCREENING TOUR PARTICIPANTS
Zodwa Nsibande was elected as the first General Secretary of the Abahlali baseMjondolo Youth League on 16 June 2008 and re-elected on 16 June 2009. She is also the National Administrator of the movement. Zodwa has been involved in all the activities of the movement but has played a particularly important role in the annual Back to School Campaigns, the University of Abahlali baseMjondolo, resistance to evictions, resistance to xenophobia, solidarity with comrades who have been arrested, Haiti solidarity, UnFreedom Day Campaigns, the 2008 City Wide Shack Fire Summit and preparing for the movements Annual General Meetings. Zodwa was born in eNhlalakahle in eMdlovana (Greytown) in 1984 and moved to Kennedy Road in 2003 to be able to further her studies. She studied Information Technology at Durban Commercial College. In 2005 she and her mother were part of the group of activists that founded Abahlali baseMjondolo. In 2006 she was very badly burnt when a paraffin stove exploded and had to drop out of her studies in her third year.
For Zodwa, the Youth League “is a space where young leaders of Abahlali baseMjondolo are being groomed so that when their time for leadership comes they can take on their responsibilities. Leaders are not born. They are made in struggle. They learn through long experience in struggle. A leader must know how to listen to everyone, to create space for everyone to speak, to belong and to be respected. A leader must know how to be led. A leader must be able to face repression with courage. What is important in development is human development whereby a person must grow in mind and social development whereby a person must move from a shack to a house. We have seen the shift in human development. We created this shift ourselves in our movement. My wish is to now see the shift in social development. We are still struggling to see this shift."
Mnikelo Ndabankulu is a founding member of Abahlali baseMjondolo and was elected as the movement’s spokesperson on 23 November 2008. He lives in the Foreman Road settlement where he is Deputy Chairperson of the Foreman Road Abahlali baseMjondolo Committee. He is 28. Mnikelo has been involved in all of the movement’s major mobilisations from planning to action. He has often been subject to police harassment and on 28 September 2008 he was arrested on charges of ‘Public Violence’ and ‘Attending an Illegal Gathering’ when he went to visit 13 comrades who were being held at the Sydenham Police station. He has recently been closely involved in the struggle to keep Foreman Road electrified. Mnikelo was born in the Village of Flagstaff in the Eastern Cape on 16 June 1984. Mnikelo first decided to come to Durban in 1997 when he visited the city for a mathematics competition while he was still in high school. He stayed in the beautiful side of the city, in a conference centre in Clairwood, and never saw the ugly side of the city. He first came to Foreman Road in 1998 during the school holidays to stay with his brother. When he first saw the Foreman Road settlement he thought it was an ihoko (pig pen) and that a big umlungu (white person) was keeping his pigs there. He was completely shocked that human beings were staying in such a place. In March 2012, Amnesty International recognized his work with the 'Golden Butterfly' Human Rights Prize in a ceremony at The Hague in the Netherlands.
Dara Kell (Dear Mandela co-director) is an award-winning South African documentary and television editor. Her editing work includes Academy Award-nominated ‘Jesus Camp’; ‘The Reckoning’ (which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival) and Emmy Award winner ‘Diamond at the Rock’. Her clients include National Geographic, Discovery Network, History Channel and MTV. She was a field producer for the Amnesty International documentary ‘Human Rights, Human Needs’ and has edited short films for Human Rights Watch and the MacArthur Foundation. Dara is also a media educator and facilitates camera and editing trainings with grassroots groups across the United States. She graduated from Rhodes University with a Bachelor of Journalism in Documentary Filmmaking and Political Science.
For information about the national screening tour, please contact Dara Kell at email@example.com.
For more information about the Abahlali baseMjondolo movement, please visit http://abahlali.org/
For more information about Dear Mandela, please visit