South 2 North

In memory of Nelson Mandela

Guests share their personal memories of Mandela, stories of his flirty charm, his great humility, and stern authority.

No subject is off limits in the first ever global talk show hosted from Africa in which Redi Tlhabi talks frankly to inspiring and intriguing personalities from across the world.

This edition of South2North is dedicated to the memory of South Africa’s first democratically elected leader, Nelson Mandela.

Host Redi Tlhabi speaks to three film directors who have worked with Mandela personally, as well as dealt with the momentous task of depicting his life and memory.

Redi and the guests chat about their own personal memories of Mandela, stories of his flirty charm, his great humility and stern authority.

Guest Angus Gibson, who co-directed the Oscar nominated film, Mandela: Son of Africa, Father of a Nation, talks about Mandela’s presence and authority.

“It was extraordinary being in the office around Madiba … I would go to the reception room and there would be these young firebrands sitting out there and they’d say, ‘We’re going to confront the old man’ … and I would hear them talking about how they were going to confront him on this and that. They’d go into his office, sit down and they would be puppies … All of that fight went out of them because he had quite an extraordinary authority,” he recounts.

Xoliswa Sithole is a seasoned documentary filmmaker who has won two BAFTAs (British Academy for Film and Television Awards), a Peabody award, and has received an Emmy nomination. She also played Mandela’s daughter, Zinzi, in the 1987 film Mandela.

Her documentary followed the secret services attempts to monitor and understand Mandela.

“The Afrikaaners had a file called Projek Mandela on how they were going to deal with this person … When Mandela was sick, Germany phoned the Afrikaaners saying that if this man dies, you are in trouble. Mandela was more important to them in sickness at that time,” says Sithole.

Khalo Matabane, who has won awards for drama and documentary films, including best South African film, is making a film about the impact of Mandela’s philosophies on people around the world.

“Whenever I travelled people used to say to me, ‘If only we had Mandela, our countries, our lives would be different’. And I thought this is interesting to have a figure that inspires people across the globe. But not only inspires one particular kind of people … I wanted to understand what it is about this figure that everyone gravitates towards him,” explains Matabane.

While his loss is greatly mourned, these narratives and films bring everyone who watches them closer to the man who many would say changed the world.


South2North can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Friday: 1930; Saturday: 1430; Sunday: 0430; Monday: 0830.