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UMama Film Honours Mandela's Legacy

Rave reviews for documentary honouring Madiba’s legacy and the women who empower us

Mothers and grandmothers have often been behind the success of many influential people around the world, and the uMama documentary creatively portrays this role through some of our great South Africans.

Since the movie was launched in December 2017, it has received rave reviews wherever it’s been shown, more recently at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg two weeks ago. The documentary is being distributed to communities, schools and a variety of stakeholders as a resource to use in promoting values and the roles of women, mothers and families.

UMama is the brainchild of Professor Marion Keim, the Director of UWC’s Interdisciplinary Centre for Sport Science and Development (ICESSD). It’s based on the 2009 book uMama, in which Prof Keim compiled features on 40 South African leaders.

“The documentary challenges us to reflect on our values, and ask ourselves how committed we are to the ideals of love, respect, compassion, diversity and human dignity,” explains Prof Keim. “The powerful stories captured in uMama of mothers and their courage, endurance and the triumph of love, are an inspiration to us all. They show us the importance of defining our values and nurturing them in our children.”

Among those featured in the film are Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Tutu, Ahmed Kathrada, Judge Albie Sachs, Sobongile Khumalo, Yvonne Chaka- Chaka- Chester, Helen Suzman, Williams Thandeka Tutu-Gxashe, Zakes Mda, Elana Meyer, Prince Buthelezi, Diana Ferrus and Chris Chameleon.

In this three-part documentary, these great South Africans share with the nation the values and insights of their mothers. Collectively, these women are an important part of what gave birth to the new South Africa, yet their lives and their contributions have often gone unnoticed and unrecorded.

People who make positive contributions to society are typically driven by a clear set of values that they adhere to and which are expressed in their good work. Those values are often rooted in deeper family histories.

In conversation with great South Africans about the women who raised them, their mothers and grandmothers, Prof Keim uncovers some of the values these women have instilled in them, and which shaped their character and the country.

“In line with the theme of this year‘s campaign, ‘Count Me In: Together Moving a Non-Violent South Africa Forward’, the stories in uMama are about the women who continuously sow but often are unable to reap,” Prof Keim adds. “They are about our mothers and grandmothers who give but do not always receive, and who pray but are often not prayed for - and they are about us, their children and grandchildren.”

Special screenings of the film have been organised in New York in April, and on Mother’s Day (in May), Mandela Day (July), at the World Conference on Women and Sport in Botswana, and the 5th Conference for Sport and Peace in Cape Town in September.

The production of the documentary was supported by the National Lotteries Commission, and the launch was supported by the Western Cape Department for Cultural Affairs and Sport, the Centre for the Book and South African Museum in Cape Town, and the Nelson Mandela Foundation In Johannesburg.

Listen to Prof Keim talk about uMama and what it means here.