Film gets close to the life of Mam' Winnie

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela tells filmmaker Pascale Lamche that her infamous 1977 banishment to Brandfort in Free State caught her by surprise.

The late Struggle icon shares her thoughts in the much-anticipated documentary film Winnie that premieres on local soil tomorrow on eNCA at 9pm.

"I got so used to being arrested that I had two little suitcases where I packed the bare necessities, toothbrush, toothpaste. I was so used to that, that I honestly did not anticipate the banishment."

She reflected: "We were the cannon fodder, we were the foot soldiers, we were exposed to the viciousness of apartheid."

Her daughter Zindzi is also featured in the doccie directed by British cinematographer Lamche.

She recalled the day the police came to take her mother.

"When they came to take my mom we thought it was the usual raid. They take her to Protea police station. She is being interrogated and completely unaware that she had been packed up and sent to Brandfort."

Zindzi celebrated her mother's unbreakable spirit, calling her an activist and a fighter.

She said her defiant nature would not let her accept circumstances she didn't like.

"You're not supposed to say 'don't' because then she will do. If you gonna say 'we are going to ensure that we lock this man up that people forget him and forget even what he looks like, what he sounds like, that he even exists', that made her commit to ensuring the opposite," she said.

Zindzi believes the apartheid government saw that there was too much power between her parents and they had to get rid of that.

Others interviewed include veteran television journalist Sophie Mokoena.

The 98-minute doccie has had a good run on the film festival circuit and picked up an award at the Sundance Film Festival. It has been available on Netflix in the US.

In her director's notes Lamche writes: "I made three films in South Africa and interviewed Nelson Mandela for two of them, but I was always intrigued by Winnie.

"Her reputation among people I encountered in Europe and the States was unshakably negative. And yet in South Africa, and not only in the townships, Winnie was loved and respected and she continued to live among her people in Soweto."

She said on the advice of her "Sowetan partner" Peter Makurube, she waited until Madikizela-Mandela completed her mourning for Nelson Mandela and started by building trust with Zindzi.

Lamche interviewed Madikizela-Mandela four times over two years.

She said she was able "to peel away the layers, to get closer and closer to the truth of her experience, her emotions and her politics".

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