IT WAS a short but glamorous walk down the red carpet for dozens of Madiba fans who attended Port Elizabeth’s premiere of the long-awaited film about Nelson Mandela at the Walmer Park Shopping Centre in the city last night.
Nu Metro in the centre went the extra mile for its first showing of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom by laying down the red carpet and offering high-end beverages while photographers snapped the pictures of scores of excited and eager moviegoers.
Directed by Justin Chadwick and headlined by Idris Elba and Naomi Harris, who respectively play Nelson Mandela and his then wife Winnie, the film chronicles Mandela’s life from his childhood in his rural Eastern Cape village through to his 1994 inauguration as president of South Africa.
Nu Metro manager Lorenzio Bonani said: “We wanted to give [moviegoers] the feel of a red-carpet event and this has worked well. This is an important and much-anticipated film and it is great to be able to add something special to a film like this.”
The dress for the occasion was varied. Some dressed to the nines, while others came dressed casually in jeans and T-shirts.
All those interviewed expressed great excitement at the opportunity of seeing the film.
“This is very exciting for us. We are big fans of Madiba and all he has done for this country. So we are really looking forward to this film,” Zahraa Howard said.
She was accompanied by Sunit Sonawane.
Municipal communications manager Roland Williams, accompanied by his wife Shahnaz, said he was thrilled to be able to see a “seminal work which captures the struggle against apartheid through the eyes of the man who championed it and became an icon of the world”.
Harsheila and Kamlesh Riga were keen to see the film.
Bonani said it would be screened at the centre until the end of December.
In Johannesburg, Mandela producer Anant Singh last night bought a collection of the former president’s personal items for R950000.
The assortment of 79 signed mementos under the hammer date from 1964 to 2010 and include the historic speech Mandela delivered from the dock in 1964. – Sapa-AFP