Social – Winnie premiere thin on star power

2014-03-02 10:00

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So the organisers billed it as one of the biggest movie premieres to take place in Soweto, with some 1?500 Sowetans expected to attend.?Alas, they barely managed to scrape together 500.

The stars of Winnie Mandela, Americans Jennifer Hudson and Terrence Howard, were missing in action.

The subject of the movie snubbed the invitation and there was a service-delivery protest nearby, so the odds were stacked against the organisers.

Despite this, moviegoers dusted off their Sunday best (except for director Darrell Roodt, who wore a plain black T-shirt and blue jeans) to witness the story of one of the most iconic women of our time and mother of the nation immortalised on film.

The patrons swelled the cinema and waited with bated breath for more than an hour to accommodate any late arrivals that may have been caused by the protest in the area.

In the meantime, guests enjoyed chatting among themselves to pass the time as photographers went about their business in the cinema’s foyer.

Unlike Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom?–?where the audience was dazzled by the star power of the international cast members?–?this time around, just a few local cast members showed up.

Muvhango actor Gabriel Temudzani, who has a cameo role as a bouncer, made an appearance to “rally behind the production and show support for South African talent”.

The actor of the popular SABC2 soapie lamented the fact that South African actors are not given the roles of our heroes.

Young Scandal! actor Mbulelo Ndlazilwana was there to support his grandmother Frances and sister Fezeka, who star in the film.

Clearly talent runs in the Ndlazilwana blood.

Roodt spoke fondly of the film when he said: “This film is an emotional drama that captures Winnie Mandela. This is not a Mandela film but a Winnie film, and people will get to understand Winnie much better.”

With Coke and popcorn in hand, we took our long walk into the theatre just after 8pm for a slice of Winnie’s life.

It was a polarised audience that left the Maponya Mall afterwards?–?those who loved the film for how beautifully the story was told and those who thought it a waste of time, especially because of the off-putting accents of the American lead actors.

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