Dear Mandela

Dara Kell, Christopher Nizza

Mazwi, Zama and Mnikelo live in the South African informal settlements around Kennedy Road, one of the many slums that the government plans to clear out and destroy. However, no plans have been made to provide alternative housing. The young South Africans will tolerate this situation no longer and rise up in revolt.

The ANC, which has been in power since Nelson Mandela was elected in 1994, promises every election that it will build new houses for the poverty-stricken people living in the townships. Few of these promises have been kept, while the population in the townships has doubled by now. What’s more, the government has an eviction policy in place that means the people living in the slums are violently removed from their homes. However, the Slum Act has made it illegal to build new settlements, causing many township inhabitants to become homeless. Mazwi, a young student, AIDS activist Zama and shop clerk Mnikelo are active members of the Abahlali baseMjondolo (‘People of the huts’), an organisation that was founded in 2005. They view the Slum Act as a new form of apartheid and are resisting it accordingly; they have taken their case to court. The story takes a dramatic twist when armed men raid Kennedy Road.


Dara Kell, Christopher Nizza
Country of production
South Africa, United States
90 minutes
Spoken language
English, Zulu
Production company
Sleeping Giant
World Sales
Sleeping Giant