June 6th, 2011
03:44 PM ET

Winnie Mandela on biopic: I wasn't consulted

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela still isn’t supporting a film about her life starring Jennifer Hudson, but she tells CNN that it has nothing to do with the Oscar winning actress.

“I have absolutely nothing against Jennifer, but I have everything against the movie itself,” she told CNN’s Nadia Bilchik.

The film, titled “Winnie,” has sparked controversy not only because an American was cast in the role rather than a South African actor, but also because Mandela sought to impede the film’s production.

“I was not consulted,” she tells CNN. “I am still alive, and I think that it is a total disrespect to come to South Africa, make a movie about my struggle, and call that movie some translation of a romantic life of Winnie Mandela.”

Director Darrell Roodt ("Cry, the Beloved Country") has described the film as "the ultimate women's movie" and "an amazing love story," as he did to the press at Cannes last year.

"I think it is an insult," Mandela told CNN of the film. "I don’t know what would be romantic in our bitter struggle.”

Hudson never met with Mandela, but a rep for the actress told CNN that it wasn’t because Hudson didn’t want to. The singer, most recently cast in the "Three Stooges," would have loved to meet the activist, her rep said, but the producers thought she shouldn't. The film is based on the book "Winnie Mandela: A Life," and a producer said they wanted to uphold the integrity of the book on which the story is based.

Filed under: movies

soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. Liyah

    Who ever is talking about the Communist crap is an apartheid sympathizer. If fighting for ones rights and freedom is being a communist then all americans and those who fight for equal opportunity and political rights and freedom are communist. It never seizes to amaze me how some people are so keen on re writing other peoples history. For all her faults Winnie Mandela was detained and beaten by the apartheid police for leading and organisation peaceful marches. She took over when her husband was sent to prison. And continued to fight for his justice, In light of all this she took care of Nelson Mandela's kids. I know Nelson Mandela is often the painted as a saint but even he had his fault too. In many histories people always find a way to minimize l women's roles in the fight for equality and freedom for the oppressed. Whilst Mandela sat in prison winnie was tortured and often beaten by police. She organised women groups and many people to march and fight the oppressive apartheid system. This movie only seeks to minimize her struggle and make it seem like her life and the struggle she led was some bed of roses and kind of romantising of situations that often movie makers engage in to water down the real and down right nasty happenings of peoples struggles. I am not a south african nor a communist but I am a student of History and I am woman. For all the free society that is often preached in the west it is amazing how quick the media and people alike are quick to destroy people who fight for the same principals. I would think as americans the struggle to rid colonialists by africans would be something they have in common since they too fought for their independence but instead you have right wing nuts complaining about Mau Mau rebellion etc but turn around and celebrate their rebellion against the british and celebrate their independence day...... Really strange and ironic

    June 8, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Angel

    Wow, that is really low down and dirty. It is one more thing that makes our country look bad. If they did that in America they'd get sued and a ton of bad press...be on talk shows, picketed...but go to South Africa and abuse them because they have no power to fight back.

    June 8, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  3. the windsors

    Consulted!? For what? The film is based on a novel. Do you really think we were consulted before "The Queen", "The Charles and Diana story", "Will and Kate" or "the King's speech" hit the airwaves? Pish, posh and a lot of tosh.

    June 8, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  4. khandi

    I am shocked they did not consult her, I will not support the film.

    June 8, 2011 at 7:48 am | Report abuse |
  5. WLM

    I think it is utter silly that someone can make a movie about someones life with the potential of making millions of dollars and not even consult them.. it makes no sense... For all its worth, I hope Jennifer Hudson can do an African Accent....

    June 7, 2011 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  6. Lief

    This is a woman who said "One bullet one white". She was also was acquitted of embezeling money. They said she was a modern day Robin Hood stealing from the rich and giving to the poor or more like her own pockets. I hope they show that in the movie.

    June 7, 2011 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
  7. meissa

    Being born and raised in Africa doesn't mean you are ignorant of your rights. Winnie is one of the symbole of ANC. She endured oppressions and racism from the appartheid government. Jhud should at least contacted her. But I am not surprised because these hollywood stars are just about money. They have no principles. But nobody can't diminish the role and influences winnie did have in the fight against apartheid. At that time anybody who stood up against that oppressor regime is a hero. America and the europeans nations are attacking lybia but remember colonel khadafi was the rare leader who did stood up and fought next to the ANC. The western countries think they can write our history. No they can't. Let us tell our history. You already too much bad things about the history of Africa. Its enough.

    June 7, 2011 at 7:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Demetri Buttnik

      Winny will soon join Nelson in Hell. Rewrite that.

      June 7, 2011 at 8:04 am | Report abuse |
    • john melee

      If Winnie and nelson are going to hell, what about De Klerk, Botha and the millions of Afrikans in SA? May God save your soul.

      June 7, 2011 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Demetri Buttnik

      Shut it melee or find yourself in Siberia you communist sympathizer.

      June 7, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Minnie Wandela

    Winnie Mandela is not an innocent victim nor is she any type if hero. She was married to a great man and lived off his name while he suffered and served his people. She sucked off the blood and tears of South Africans. She was corrupt and ordered the murders of people.

    If Winnie wrote a book about her life and contribution to history, it's a work of fiction. If Hollywood optioned the rights to the book, Winnie sold them. She made big bucks. If Hollywood chooses to make a movie based loosely on her life, she's out of luck. As a public figure she does not own her image or story. She can't have it both ways.

    Somewhere out there is the truth but well only see the chick flick story.

    June 7, 2011 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Liyah

      Please explain to me how he could have been fighting if he was in prison? You can hate winnie the person if you want but please do try and re write history. Winnie was often imprisoned, tortured and beaten by police for organising marches and boycotts. She took over where her husband left when he was sent to prison in the meantime she raised his children. I am not saying she always conducted herself perfectly but she sure as hell fought as hell in the struggle. This is why dispite her faults many south africans who know their history in the struggle call her Mama (meaning mother) because she didnt just sit back and wait for her husband to come out of prison she too led demonstrations against his imprisonment and became a leader in the struggle which is why she was often a target of the Apartheid police mass tortures and beatings. Dont try to rewrite a history you may not understand or have no knowledge about. This is exactly why she decries this movie. People have already started rewriting her struggle and watering it down.

      June 8, 2011 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Plain Truth

    No one can tell the truth about Winnie ;other than Winnie , Herself ! JenHud is getting paid;however I'm with Winnie .She has the Power of Choice to allow any one to tell her living story !!!

    June 6, 2011 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amys love child

      Winny should tell us about all the trouser snakes she had while her boy nelson was in prison.

      June 7, 2011 at 8:05 am | Report abuse |
  10. Nyxxie

    Who gives a crap what nationality the person acting is? Since when does this MATTER? There are many times Australians play US Cowboys. This is just a ridiculous excuse.

    June 6, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • ruth

      Apparently you neither have listening or reading skills. She never said she had a problem with JHud her issue is with the whole movie and not the chosen actress

      June 8, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Olga

    Oh my. The woman specifically stated that she was NOT angry at Jennifer Hudson. Take some lessons from Anderson Cooper and report the facts, accurately.....Good grief....

    June 6, 2011 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Trolling

    Trolling needed on the romona blog

    June 6, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. mike1210

    The biopic should of course, include stories about Winnie Mandela's legacy of Human Rights® and Social Justice® advocacy.

    Specifically, it should cover her brave pioneering of the practice of "necklacing"; wrapping a gasoline-soaked rubber tire around the necks of her political opponents and setting it ablaze.

    June 6, 2011 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
  14. chunky

    We ve all had personal struggles ond time or another, but we get therapy and move on. Chuck it up. Life isnt over. Yet!

    June 6, 2011 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
  15. winnieisamurderer

    Winnie mandela necklaced ppl. that is putting an old tire around a persons neck and setting them on fire. she is not someone heroic. the anc is racist and communist.

    June 6, 2011 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
  16. chumky

    Suck it up mandela!

    June 6, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Jerry Moitse@South africa

    To: The MAd R@p3r, how dare u judge Mrs Mandela on her past, cause u dont know her, U dont know what she had to endure under the apartheid regime, but your name says it all.. u aint just Mad..but Stupid too..in as much as JHud is a decent lady, i think the producers had to do some consultation with the Mandela's,

    June 6, 2011 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Mad R@p3r

      Theres a line between being a partisan or a terrorist and she crossed it. You lose the moral high ground when you become as vicious as the evil you fight.

      June 6, 2011 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • penny

      While her husband languished in jail Ms Mandela went thru black tribesman like squirt thru a goose. She was banging the "ooga booga Hopping clan" left and right. As I understand she had them all at least thrice. This woman and her ole man are made out to be some kinda folk heros when all they really were was stupid.

      I hope she eats your doookie.

      June 7, 2011 at 8:09 am | Report abuse |
  18. TRY


    June 6, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marky

      Well, the rest of us aren't dead yet, either, and we KNOW Winnie Mandela was a murdering B*^%%* who killed black kids by "ringing" them with tires and setting them on fire, if they didn't do what she said. If this story makes her a hero, it's missing the point. However she may have started out, she ended up worse than the people she was fighting, and that's going some! Nelson Mandela needs his story told, but not Winnie; she deserves to be alone and ignored in prison.

      June 8, 2011 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  19. The Mad R@p3r

    Nothing against jhud though, she seems like a decent person. : )

    June 6, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  20. The Mad R@p3r

    The truth and reconciliation committee when apartheid ended said she was a human rights violator so I'm not sure what she's squawking about here. They should put that part in the movie.

    June 6, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hilma

      This is not about her being bad but she had been one of an inspiring ladies back in the aparthied era as a woman her negative part was exaggerated had it been Mr. Nelson Mandela who had lots of ladies it woudnt be considered but she was by her self for a long time fighting aparthied on one side and raising her children on the other so please give her a credit for what she has done for her country not her personal life and the truth she should have been consulted when they make a movie at least they can get something out of her instead of relying on second hand resource

      June 7, 2011 at 5:24 am | Report abuse |
    • The Mad R@p3r

      "...had it been Mr. Nelson Mandela who had lots of ladies it woudnt be considered..."

      I wasn't talking about her infidelity while Nelson was in jail, although that's certainly another bone of contention. I was talking about the practice of "necklacing" her opponents with flaming tires. There's also the matter of political corruption as well.

      June 7, 2011 at 6:59 am | Report abuse |
  21. move on

    I don't know alot about Winnie that the average person know. But if she thinks the depiction is wrong then don't make it.I think she's right though there is nothing romantic about her life so if its gonna focus on romance I think scrap it

    June 6, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  22. yolanda

    Well I feel that Ms.Mandela should have been consulted, the movie is about her life.

    June 6, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Darth Tater

      Whenever roasting humans alive Winny prefers her done in a standing position, cooked medium rare and nice femur on which to knaw later that evening.

      June 7, 2011 at 8:27 am | Report abuse |
  23. zakiyah omar

    Jenifer don't be a puppet, it's like disrespecting Your mother(May God Grant her Paradise)! It is standard protocol to meet the person U r portryin if and when at all possible! Come on Now U have power Use it!

    June 6, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carmel

      DId you read the story? She wanted to meet with the former Mrs. Mandela, but she advised NOT to by the producers.

      June 9, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  24. norma

    The female reporter is foul and a liar. She came out of the box saying Winnie Mandela was made at Jennifer Hudson. Thank God for video, because Winnie made that very clear. She said she was not mad at the Oscar winner. Winnie said she was upset at the movie period. She said she was not consulted. It is a shame how people just jump the gun trying to make others look bad. The media can be the worst outlet. Jhud earned all her accolades through hard work. The lovely super star is going to get tired of you people mistaken her kindness for weakness. Jen Hudson is honest, and very trust worthy. She has know reason to lie about anything. Jhud came in the business very humbled and grounded, and people like you been trying to discredit her worth every since.

    June 6, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • etta sandwich

      Norma, dont be upset. In a show of respect for winny there is a brown mamba wrigglin its way out of my bunkee hole.

      June 7, 2011 at 8:03 am | Report abuse |
  25. Tresa Didier

    I totally agree with Winnie Mandela people need to respect the living as they do for the dead. Give Winnie the respect she deserves. Winnie sue them if u have to..

    June 6, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amelia

      That's right, sue them...answer for everything in this ridiculous country *rolling my eyes*

      June 7, 2011 at 6:45 am | Report abuse |
    • ian

      Respect for a murdering communist? Hmmm, ok...*POOT* <-Respect.

      June 7, 2011 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
  26. Marie Kidman


    June 6, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gregoire

      Winnie Mandela is a corrupt murderess who was officially convicted of kidnapping, and she should be sitting in prison right now, not giving opinions on Hollywood.

      June 19, 2011 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |

    I want half!

    June 6, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |

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