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Former South African president and influential political figure Nelson Mandela has died at 95. His biopic film, “Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom” was released on Thanksgiving Friday in the U.S. He was South Africa’s symbol of hope and inspiration during the dark times of racial oppression. Mr. Mandela spent nearly three decades as a political prisoner before he led South Africa’s transition as the first black president from white-minority rule in the 90s. The political Icon died at his Johannesburg home surrounded by his family. Madiba – as he was affectionately known by many South Africans, passed away following complications from lung infection. He had been receiving treatment for a lung infection at his Johannesburg home since September, after three months in hospital in a critical state.

The biopic of the legendary freedom fighter, helmed by English actor and television/ film director Justin Chadwick, was released on November 29. “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” celebrates Nelson Mandela’s extraordinary journey from his childhood in a rural village through to his election as President of South Africa. It explores the Mandela unknown to most of the world – the lover of fancy cars, a ladies’ man, the boxing enthusiast and playboy, the skillful lawyer and freedom fighter. The film is an intimate portrait of the making of a modern icon.

South African President Jacob Zuma said:

“the nation has lost its greatest son” — “he is now resting. He is now at peace”.

RIP Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013

RIP Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013

Watch the trailer for ‘Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom’ 

The movie, starring Idris Elba (Nelson Mandela) and Naomie Harris (Winnie Mandela) grossed over $73,000 (750,000 rand) in the South African market with a daily screen average of $843 (R 8,620). The record breaking opening outperformed the wildly popular “Hunger Games: Catching Fire.”

South African producer Anant Singh, who spent 16 years developing the film, said:

“It is extremely gratifying for us as filmmakers to have our home audience embrace our film and react so positively to it. We are proud that a South African film is competing so well against one of the most anticipated sequels of all time.”

Huffingtonpost.com says Idris Elba delivered a stellar performance, worthy of an Academy award:

” It is seen as an Oscar contender, with Elba’s performance in particular worthy of a best acting nomination.”

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