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Goodbye Bafana
Goodbye Bafana THIS INSPIRATIONAL AND EMOTIONALLY-CHARGED film about Nelson Mandela (touchingly played by Golden Globe Winner Dennis Haysbert, 24) and the impact he has not only on a nation's freedom, but also on the life of Robben Island prison guard James Gregory (Joseph Fiennes, Shakespeare in Love, Enemy At The Gates), is an extraordinary true story of courage and honour in the face of violence and prejudice.

"South Africa, 1968. Twenty million Blacks are ruled by a minority of
four million Whites under the brutal Apartheid regime. Blacks have no vote, no land rights, no freedom of movement or equitable opportunity to housing, employment or education. Determined to retain power, the government bans all opposition organisations, forcing their leaders into exile or imprisoning them, some for life, on Robben Island." — from the opening shots of BAFTA-nominated Director Bille August's fantastic Goodbye Bafana.

Against a vivid backdrop of the beautiful South African country, Bille August directs the story with empathy with the credible lead characters; highlighting the injustices and frustrations of the times.

A white Afrikana in a country divided by race, Gregory falls under he spell of the dignified and charismatic Mandela — creating difficulties for himself that rebound on his relationship with his wife Gloria (Diane Kruger, Troy).

The two men gradually develop a deep and secret bond — a bond that forces Gregory to confront his own racist past but that also empowers him to help Mandela on his journey to free South Africa of Apartheid with its discrimination and human suffering.

Modern history unfolds before us as the film moves on through Greg-ory's take on the appalling treatment of the prisoners and, in particular, his reaction to Nelson Mandela. The change in the way Gregory begins to think is perfectly demonstrated by his remarks to his children early in the film and his reaction to violence against a black mother and baby — and also by the indifferent way he behaves towards Winnie Mandela (Faith Noukwana) when he first meets her and how his attitude to her softens.

The scenes between James Gregory and Nelson Mandela have a com-pelling intensity in this great film, with Fiennes and Haysbert relating to their parts with a rare understanding. Through flashbacks we are given a vision of the past and how it connects on a personal level with the characters.

Mandela's fight for fair treatment, liberty and equality is one of South Africa's legacies and Goodbye Bafana brings home to the viewer some-thing of the sense of the hopelessness and anger that must have pre-vailed among the black community.

The screenplay was imaginatively written by Greg Latter, based on the book Goodbye Bafana, written by James Gregory himself and Bob Graham.

Jean-Luc van Damme, Ilann Girard and Andro Steinborn present, in association with Thema Productions, Goodbye Bafana with a running time of 113 minutes. With a special feature, The Making of Goodbye Bafana, the DVD was released on 15 October (2007) and has a recommended price of 19.99.