Daugh­ters told at screen­ing

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NELSON MANDELA 1918-2013 -

NEL­SON Man­dela’s two youngest daugh­ters were told of the death of their fa­ther at Thurs­day’s Lon­don pre­miere of a film cel­e­brat­ing his life.

Zindzi and Ze­nani had just met dig­ni­taries, in­clud­ing Bri­tain’s Prince Wil­liam and his wife Cather­ine, at the screen­ing of Man­dela: Long Walk to Free­dom, when they were in­formed of the news by tele­phone “and im­me­di­ately left the cin­ema,” ac­cord­ing to the Nel­son Man­dela Foun­da­tion.

How­ever, the pair re­quested that the pre­miere con­tinue.

Zindzi, 55, had in­sisted on her way into the cin­ema that her fa­ther was “fine” but “frail”, and that she was “hop­ing to see more of him”.

Bri­tish news re­ports sug­gested she “seemed to be over­come” shortly af­ter go­ing in­side the cin­ema.

Wil­liam was told of Man­dela’s death dur­ing the screen­ing, and gave a brief state­ment fol­low­ing a twominute si­lence held at the end of the film.

“We were just re­minded of what an ex­tra­or­di­nary and in­spir­ing man Nel­son Man­dela was and my thoughts and prayers are with him and his fam­ily right now,” he said.

The film’s pro­ducer, Anant Singh, told the au­di­ence of Man­dela’s death as the cred­its rolled, ac­cord­ing to news re­ports.

Bri­tish ac­tor Idris Elba, who plays Man­dela on the big screen, later re­leased a state­ment prais­ing the for­mer pres­i­dent.

“I am stunned at this very mo­ment, in mourn­ing with the rest of the world and Madiba’s fam­ily,” he said.

“We have lost one of the great­est hu­man be­ings to have walked this Earth; I only feel hon­oured to be as­so­ci­ated with him.”

He ear­lier said on the red car­pet that he hoped Man­dela would live long enough to see the film.

“I think he has seen parts of the film, but ul­ti­mately it’s about his life; he’s been there, he’s done it – so he might not even need to see it,” he said.

Har­vey We­in­stein, head of the We­in­stein Com­pany stu­dio that made the film, called Man­dela “one of his­tory’s great­est free­dom fight­ers”.

“We count our­selves un­speak­ably for­tu­nate to have been im­mersed in Nel­son Man­dela’s story and legacy,” he said in a state­ment.

● Ster-Kinekor an­nounced that it would not screen the film yes­ter­day as a sign of re­spect for Man­dela. Pri­me­dia Broad­cast­ing also sus­pended ad­ver­tis­ing on its four ra­dio sta­tions.

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