Image for Mrs MandelaNot currently available on BBC iPlayer

Duration: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Fact-based drama which charts how Winnie Mandela went from innocent country girl to politicised fighter against apartheid, and from an adoring and loving wife to firebrand revolutionary.

In February 1990, Winnie Mandela arrived at Victor Verster prison for the release of her husband Nelson after 27 years' incarceration, a moment of freedom that will be etched on the minds of billions around the world.

But behind her public face of triumphant celebration lay an inner turmoil, based on the realisation that she could no longer play the loyal and faithful wife.

After following Winnie through her years of imprisonment, torture and exile at the hands of the white ruling class, the film comes to a dramatic crescendo as the consequences of her brutalisation by the South African state blur into the madness of the last days of apartheid.

We are left with what this all means for one of the most famous couples in the world - Nelson and Mrs Mandela.

Last on

Tue 31 May 2011 23:25 BBC Four

  • Photo: Winnie and Nelson Mandela

    Photo: Winnie and Nelson Mandela

    The young Winnie Mandela (Sophie Okonedo), with husband Nelson (David Harewood) before his long incarceration.

  • Photo: Winnie Mandela

    Photo: Winnie Mandela

    Sophie Okonedo takes on the role of the determined Mrs Mandela.

  • Photo: Theunis Swanepoel

    Photo: Theunis Swanepoel

    Major Theunis Swanepoel (David Morrissey), the prison guard who inflicted terrible punishments on Winnie Mandela.


Winnie Mandela
Sophie Okonedo
Nelson Mandela
David Harewood
Theunis Swanepoel
David Morrissey


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss