Two hour documentary special examines the life & legacy of the Nobel prize-winning freedom fighter Nelson Mandela.

From his birth 95 years ago to his final days in the hearts and minds of people around the world, Nelson Mandela was a Nobel prize-winning freedom fighter who devoted his life to the pursuit of justice for all.

"I have cherished the idea of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony".

Those words, from the young Mandela, landed him in a South African jail, where he remained for 27 years.

After being released from jail in 1990, he became the first black president of his country in 1994, peacefully wresting power from one of the world's most despised regimes. In sacrificing his private life for his people and leading the battle against apartheid, Mandela became South Africa's best known and most beloved hero. And in his lifelong fight for human rights, he became an international hero as well as one of the great political leaders of our time. Nelson Mandela was also the first foreigner awarded the Companion of the Order of Canada, our country's highest honour at a ceremony in Ottawa in 1998, and in 2001 he became an honorary Canadian citizen.

But there is much myth around Mandela. His real story, revealed in THE LIFE & TIMES OF NELSON MANDELA, was in many ways more compelling than the myth. Mandela speaks of his love of children, how apartheid affected him, facing the death sentence and how he survived prison, won over his enemies and overcame prejudice. He also speaks about the pain of his marriage to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela with whom he had two daughters. In an interview, Winnie talks about her first meeting with Mandela, the last time they were home together, and how she survived torture and scandal.

Nelson Mandela passed away on December 5th, 2013, age 95, at his home in Johannesburg after a prolonged lung infection. To millions, he remains an inspiration and an example of the triumph of dignity and hope over despair and persecution.

Since this documentary was completed, Nelson Mandela  devoted a lot of time and energy to the HIV/Aids charity called 46664, named after his prison number on Robben Island. In 2005 he also revealed publicly that his son Makgatho Lewanika had died of an Aids-related illness.

Mandela’s former law office has also been transformed into a museum with case files and an archive in the upstairs office where filmmaker Robin Benger had interviewed the squatters.

THE LIFE & TIMES OF NELSON MANDELA was written, produced and directed by Robin Benger for the CBC Documentary Unit.

See a book of condolences and timeline of key events in Nelson Mandela's life.  Read recent entries about his work as an Aids campaigner.

Please note: We regret to announce that this film will not be available online for viewing afterwards.

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