Our symposium on this topic last Thursday left me drained, exhausted in particular by the breathe of knowledge shared by the women gathered in a short period as brief as as a half a day.
I pondered most of all the difficulty of recognizing the vital contribution women leaders have made to the advancement of revolutionary struggles in the U.S. And Africa. The conversation turned to the portrayal of Winnie Mandela in the new film Mandela, which was said to be insufficient to her actual contribution. So I decided to watch this film this evening to see for myself. I find that Winnie Mandela occupies a large role.
The biopic, such as in the case of this movie, is a very difficult genre of feature film to execute well. The very process of concentrating the portrayal of historically and cataclysmic events in the form a biography of a single extraordinary individual as though change was the product of great men rather than the interactions of many great people forging a chain out of a series of events over time.
As such, this film does more than fail to tell the story of Winnie,. In general it is difficult to understand how events around the world led to majority rule and the freedom of Mandela, the man we now all revere. One thing that strikes me that this is truly the tale of a revolution in the sense of the American Revolution. It did not bring freedom for all or even well being for most but it began the discussion.
Black Feminism, the Civil Rights Movement and African Anti-Colonialism
I am a writer and a professor of English at the City College of New York, and the CUNY Graduate Center. My books include Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman (1979), Invisibility Blues (1990), Black Popular Culture (1992), and Dark Designs and Visual Culture (2005). I write cultural criticism frequently and am currently working on a project on creativity and feminism among the women in my family, some of which is posted on the Soul Pictures blog.