Mandela’s ‘doing just fine’

2009-10-31 14:47

THERE is nothing wrong with ­Madiba – so says the Nelson Mandela Foundation after weeks of speculation about the former statesman’s health.

In a statement on Friday the ­foundation’s chairperson, Professor Jakes Gerwel, said: “There has been a great deal of speculation recently about the state of Mr Mandela’s health, to the extent where rumours have even been spread that he is ­extremely ill. The fact is that Mr Mandela is as well as anyone can ­expect of someone who is 91 years old and who has lived an active and demanding life, as he has.’’

Gerwel said Mandela obviously needed to rest more than in the past, and he therefore decided to cut back his engagements even further and spend more time with his family.

He gave the assurance that the family would continue being open and would keep the public informed should there be any significant ­deterioration in Mandela’s health.

The reassurance came on the eve of the release of a new movie about the former president.

Invictus (Latin for “unconquered”) tells the story of how South Africans were united through rugby in 1995 and of the role Mandela played in the country winning the Rugby World Cup that year.

Academy Award-winning actor Morgan Freeman plays Mandela and South ­African actress Bonnie Henna plays Zindzi Mandela.

The film is based on John Carlin’s book, Playing the Enemy. It was ­directed by Hollywood heavyweight Clint Eastwood and was shot in Cape Town and Johannesburg over a period of six weeks from March.

Henna said she was honoured to have been part of the film and to play the role of Zindzi.

“It was an eye-opener for me ­because I did not know what the former president did behind the scenes to empower the Boks,” said Henna, adding that it was also one of the most nerve-racking experiences of her acting career.

“I did a scene with Freeman and it was directed by Eastwood and I was pregnant at the time, so that ­explains my being nervous.”

Zindzi, who is in Washington DC for a fund-raising event, said she was proud of her father and welcomed initiatives that sought to celebrate his legacy and accurately record his historical footprint. She said she was honoured to have Henna play her because she commanded her ­profession with dignity, integrity and talent that had no bounds.

“I also want to thank Eastwood for not depicting my cellulite by choosing someone with a figure like that,” she joked.

Freeman has been invited to South Africa for the premiere of the movie, which will be released worldwide on December 11.

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