President Moncef Marzouki of Tunisia attended the premiere of Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom last night. The premiere was hosted by the South African embassy’s Chargé d’Affaires, Shoayb Casoo as the embassy’s flagship event celebrating South Africa’s 20 Years of Democracy. Representing the film at the event was Associate Producer, Nilesh Singh. Invited guests at the event included the Tunisian Health Minister, Mr Mohamed Salah Ben Ammar and the National Minister of Education, Mr Fathi Jarray. Also in attendance were representatives of the diplomatic corps stationed in Tunis, among whom were the ambassadors of India, Indonesia, Cote d’ivoire, the Netherlands, Palestine, Finland, Serbia, Burkina, Faso, Mali, Libya, the UAE and Algeria.
The Tunisian premiere has special significance as Madiba visited the country in 1962, two years before he began his 27 years of imprisonment, in order to secure support for the freedom struggle in South Africa. He met then president, President Habib Bourguiba who advised him on 'methods and tactics' to be employed in the struggle. Hajer Bourguiba, President Bourguiba’s daughter also attended the premiere last night.
Speaking at the premiere, President Marzouki said, “When I refer to Nelson Mandela, I call him, like South Africans do - Madiba, because Madiba has been, and still is, my spiritual father. I owe him everything I know. We are going to watch the film Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom tonight, and I have read the book three times, and I will probably read it again and again, because there are so many things to learn from this great man. Let's be proud of Nelson Mandela. He belongs not only to South Africa, but to all mankind, and of course, he belongs to all of us, he belongs to Tunisia as much as he belongs to South Africa. You can be proud of this man, we are proud of him. To respect his legacy is not to just talk about him, but to do everything we can to follow his path.”
The film elicited an overwhelmingly emotional response from Tunisians who hold Madiba in high esteem. The film also inspired some of the political party heads present who found South Africa’s transition to peace and democracy to be a model which Tunisia could follow in their post revolution phase.
Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom is currently available on Blu-ray and DVD at all major retailers in South Africa.