AMERICAN actor Laurence Fishburne is set to portray Nelson Mandela in the upcoming BET miniseries Madiba. The series will be based on Mandela’s memoir, Conversations with Myself, as well as Nelson Mandela by Himself, a book of quotations. The focus will be on the life of Nelson Mandela during the tumultuous era of the early 1960s, amid the political upheaval of apartheid South Africa. The late 1950s and early 1960s proved to be a defining period in the life of the charismatic South African leader. During this time, Mandela was a leading member of the African National Congress, joined the South African Communist Party, and co-founded the militant Umkhonto we Sizwe in 1961 in part as a response to the tragic Sharpeville Massacre of 1960. Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life in prison by the South African Government in 1962.
Pre-production on the miniseries is slated to begin later this year with production to follow in South Africa in early 2016. Fishburne is the latest in a string of immensely talented actors to take on the role of the iconic South African leader that includes Morgan Freeman, Sidney Poitier, and Idris Elba.
The Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning actor currently co-stars in the hit ABC comedy Black-ish and has also signed on to portray author Alex Haley in A&E’s upcoming adaptation of Haley’s novel Roots: The Saga of An American Family.
“Nelson Mandela’s journey of political activism and leadership is deeply inspirational and we are proud to have the talented and award-winning actor Laurence Fishburne join Madiba to tell this triumphant story” said Stephen Hill, president of programming at BET Networks.
Nelson Mandela, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and the first black president of South Africa, passed away at the age of 95 in 2013. Mandela became a cultural icon and an inspiration to millions worldwide during his 27-year imprisonment for his anti-apartheid struggle. The six-hour miniseries will be produced and financed by Toronto-based Blue Ice Pictures as well as UK-based Left Bank Pictures and South Africa’s Out of Africa Entertainment in association with Fishburne’s Cinema Gypsy Productions. Mandela’s grandson, Kweku Mandela, will serve as an executive producer. – Wordandfilm