Tag Archives: Thuli Mandosela

Doc Edge 18 | Whispering Truth To Power

South Africa, Netherlands | 2018 | 88 min | English, Sotho, Zulu | Shameela Seedat

“Whispering truth to Power”.  Never a truer word uttered and straight from the film’s main protagonist’s mouth – Thuli Mandosela.  South Africa’s first female Public Protector and direct opposer to the deception and inequity that ran rife within the country’s ruling and democratically elected power under the Zuma administration.

Shameela Seedat (filmmaker and human rights lawyer) produces and directs this film, as she follows Thuli throughout her tenure as ‘Protector of the Public’.  Beginning with initial investigations during her earlier days in office, as she leads a case into alleged corruption, involving President Zuma and a questionably large sum of state funds (246 million Rand to be precise) used in security upgrades to his home in Nkandla, Kwa-Zulu Natal.

His definitively unapologetic and vitriolic response to these allegations, clearly demonstrated the lack of justice that is still prevalent in South Africa,  even decades after apartheid.

The documentary traces back to the Mandela years and the subsequent release of political prisoners in 1990.  Of which Thuli Mandosela had been an active underground member, before they became the ruling party in 1994.  Following thus, her 7 year term in 2004.

It also references the disenfranchised town of Bapong – North West South Africa, and the millions that they stood to gain in mining rights after 1994, but yet to experience any direct benefit into their community, from these supposedly vast profits.

“Corruption derails efforts to improve the quality of life for everyone”  (Thuli Mandosela).

An extremely articulate, well-educated and softy spoken woman,  yet with an innate power within.  Thuli Mandosela proves she is not a person to back down, even when those in power try to denounce the honesty and transparency of her findings.  Case in point; when President Jacob Zuma, with his air of invincibility along with his supporters, try to derail her work.  Using suggestions of association with the ‘White Monopoly Capital” in attempt to deflect the focus from his own scandalous business associations

Thuli is dedicated to her career and to her calling, in a country where the basic needs of it’s people are barely met; food, housing and education.  Accountability is pivotal to her position and the respect that she coincidentally gains is evident, when towards the end of her term, there is a fear among it’s less fortunate citizens, that their personal plight/cases will not be fairly heard without her representation.  Considering the strained history of this country and the continuing social and racial prejudice, theirs is an anxiety that one can vehemently understand.

‘Whispering Truth To Power’  also provides us with a glimpse into her family life; and her children Wantu and Wenzile.  Allowing them to describe their own perception of their mother and the incredible media interest that she holds to the public, as well as how  that impacts them personally.   It also touches on Thuli’s own self-image as a youth and her somewhat blighted perception, to how she perceives herself now …

Moments of humour are felt when her son Wantu and friend laughingly joke about his mother’s soft demeanor and loll voice, the film then also delves into her own daughter’s interest in politics and her opinions regarding this.  A subject very relevant to the foundations of this film, as it outlines the racial conflict still prevalent in universities today in South Africa, regarding inequality and the right to free education for it’s people.

The film then leads us into the final days of Mandosela’s term as ‘Protector of the Public’.  The highly anticipated and publicized release of her ‘Legacy Report’ (also know as the ‘State of Capture’ report).  Emotions are high, as is the social and political unrest of the country.

Those who are abreast of the political status of South Africa, will be aware that this report led to the inexorable resignation of President Jacob Zuma.  Yet the film is necessary to understand the absence of morality in many of our political constitutions today, and the importance of women in power, like Mandosela, in exposing the criminal activity within a corrupt parliament, and in turn bringing justice back to it’s country’s people without violence and without threat.

“Corruption is a cancer that erodes everything that is good”. (Thuli Mandosela).

***4 Stars!

‘Whispering Truth To Power’ –  is showing at the following times in Auckland as part of the Doc Edge Festival 2018:

Loft / Sat 26 May, 9:30PM
Rangatira / Sun 27 May, 9:45AM