South African actor Sello Motloung visited the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg to prepare for his role as Nelson Mandela in an upcoming movie, An Act of Defiance. The focus of the movie is Bram Fischer, the lead attorney for the Rivonia trialists in the 1960s.
"There's no better place to visit for in-depth research on the man and his journey," said Motloung, following his visit.
The foundation gave Motloung access to the audio records of "Speech from the Dock", which Mandela delivered on 20 April 1964 during the Rivonia Trial. "Mandela's 176-minute speech opened the defence case in the trial," said the foundation.
The movie is a co-production between South Africa and the Netherlands and is directed by Jean van de Velde. Peter Paul Muller takes the role of Fischer.
Motloung said he wanted to immerse himself entirely in Mandela's journey. In doing this, he toured the foundation's archives and permanent exhibition. It felt like he had visited Mandela himself, said the actor.
"I had to suit the images and my dialogue with the life and energy that oozed through the recordings. Clearly, the man was way bigger than what one encounters in the media."
"Bram Fischer, a white Afrikaner from powerful Afrikaner parentage, is one of the unsung heroes of the struggle for freedom in South Africa," said Michael Auret, from production company Spier Films, speaking to movie news website, Screen Daily.
"His work at the Rivonia Trial ensured that the leaders of the ANC of the time, including Nelson Mandela, lived to fight another day and ultimately lead a new South Africa."
After the Rivonia Trial, Fischer was also arrested and tried for conspiracy to overthrow the apartheid government. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.
"One of those incarcerated with him was Denis Goldberg, the only white person convicted in the Rivonia Trial," said the foundation. "Because of apartheid, he was not allowed to be held on Robben Island with Mandela and his other comrades."
An Act of Defiance is scheduled for release in March 2017.
Source: The Nelson Mandela Foundation and SouthAfrica.info reporter