Whispering Truth to Power

Shameela Seedat

Inspiring portrait of soft-spoken but decisive South African Public Protector Thuli Madonsela during her final year in office. When she takes on president Jacob Zuma in a large-scale corruption case, Madonsela has to navigate a minefield, with danger and obstruction coming from all sides.

Two decades after the end of Apartheid, South Africa is one of the most unequal countries in the world. It is a country rife with tensions – between rich and poor, black and white, powerful and powerless – and corruption is endemic. Thuli Madonsela is the head of the Office of the Public Protector, which helps citizens when the authorities have abused their power. In Whispering truth to power, we follow Madonsela during her very tumultuous final year in office.

‘I do get angry,’ Thuli Madonsela says to an interviewer in the film. ‘But not crazy angry.’ It might be the understatement of the decade. Madonsela’s demeanour is extremely calm, patient and soft-spoken. Underneath, however, is an unmistakable toughness which allows her to battle successfully with South Africa’s rich, powerful... and corrupt. But when she confronts president Zuma – her former comrade in the ANC – the result is a showdown in which she is defamed, intimidated, and ultimately has to fear for her safety.


Shameela Seedat
Brechtje Smidt, Neil Brandt
Country of production
South Africa, Netherlands, The
87 minutes
Spoken language
English, Sotho, Zulu
Production company
Dutch Picture Industry
World Sales
Rushlake Media GmbH