Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, ex-wife of former South African President Nelson Mandela, has harsh words for the biopic Winnie starring Jennifer Hudson and Terrence Howard awaiting release. “I have absolutely nothing against Jennifer, but I have everything against the movie itself,” she recently told CNN. “I was not consulted. I am still alive. And I think that it is total disrespect to come to South Africa, make a movie about my struggle, and call that movie some translation of ‘The Romantic Life of Winnie Mandela.’ I think it is an insult. I don’t know what would be romantic in our bitter struggle.” Watch the interview below.
“What do they know about what Robben Island was like?” she continued. “What do they know about, for instance, me held in a death cell? I was held in a death cell when I was detained for those 18 months in solitary confinement. How would they know that? How would they know how I felt? And how do you go and translate anyone’s emotions? That person is still alive, and you want to do exactly what the previous enemy did: They always said they knew what we thought…. That movie does precisely just that.”
Contacted by EW for comment, producers of the film released the following statement: “The producers of Winnie are grateful for the interest shown, and suggest that the film be allowed to speak for itself.” A rep for South African director Darrell Roodt could not be reached.
Madikizela-Mandela recently attended the opening of Winnie: the Opera in Pretoria, South Africa.