Meet the actors and authors giving voice to Nelson Mandela’s presidential years

Tuesday, August 29, 2017 - 17:31

Dare Not Linger is the story of Nelson Mandela’s years as the first president of democratic South Africa. Drawn heavily from the memoirs he began as he prepared to conclude his time in office, Mandela’s work has been completed - from unfinished drafts, detailed notes, and archived material - by acclaimed writer Mandla Langa. This highly-anticipated follow-up to Long Walk to Freedom tells the story of transition from decades of apartheid rule and the challenges Mandela overcame to make a reality of his vision for a liberated South Africa.

As part of London Literature Festival we celebrate the release of Dare Not Linger with a talk featuring Langa, chaired by well-known journalist Jon Snow. The event also features readings from the book, but how could we do justice and due gravitas to the words of such an iconic leader? By assembling this genuinely stellar cast of world-renowned actors and voices.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw

Belle Interview with Gugu Mbatha-Raw

Having trained with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s breakthrough role came on the stage. She played Juliet in Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre’s Romeo and Juliet in 2005, leading to a role as Ophelia in Hamlet in the West End and on Broadway. Mbatha-Raw’s film breakthrough came with the part of Talia in Tom Hanks’ Larry Crowne, before her first title film role in Amma Asante’s Belle, depicting the life of Dido Elizabeth Belle. Mbatha-Raw has also made much-acclaimed performances on the smaller screen, in Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror and on the US series Undercovers and Touch.

I don't want to just play the girlfriend or the love interest. I get so many scripts like that, and... I just look at those scripts, and my heart sinks a little bit because I think there's so much more to us than that
Gugu Mbatha-Raw, speaking to The Spectator

Adjoa Andoh

Adjoa Andoh

The Bristol born stage, film and television actress Anjoa Andoh is perhaps best known for playing Sister Colette Griffiths in the long running BBC Drama series Casualty, yet television is but one string to her all encompassing bow. Andoh has worked extensively on the stage, performing at the National Theatre and Royal Court Theatre, and starring in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s productions of Tamburlaine and The Odyssey, among others. She has also narrated series and book readings for radio and this won’t be the first time Andoh has played a part in telling Mandela’s story; she played the role of the South African President’s Chief of Staff Brenda Maziubo in the 2009 film Invictus

All humans like to see stories that reflect them and the people who decide which stories get told are the commissioners. When you have commissioners from a diverse range of people you’ll get a diversity of stories.
Adjoa Andoh, talking to The Stage

Lemn Sissay

The World Wakes, by Lemn Sissay

Ten years since he was our artist-in-residence, Lemn Sissay returns to Southbank Centre. Born and raised in Wigan and began writing poetry in his late teens, initially self-publishing works and selling them locally, before his first book of poems was published at 21. He has gone on to write several collections of poetry, with his words immortalised in sculpture and art installations. As a broadcaster Sissay has made a number of radio documentaries for the BBC and is a regular contributor on BBC Radio 4’s output. The official poet of the 2012 London Olympics, Sissay is Chancellor of the University of Manchester.

I do... to this day, think that success is being able to look in the mirror and know that I'm alright on that day. I don't believe I've made it–I believe that I'm making it
Lemn Sissay

Ben Okri

Ben Okri discusses his approach to writing

Nigerian-born Ben Okri is considered one of the foremost African authors and poets in the post-modern and post-colonial traditions. A prolific writer, Okri published his first novel, Flowers and Shadows, in 1980 at just 21 years of age and has gone on to win multiple awards for his work, including the 1991 Booker Prize for The Famished Road. A regular visitor to Southbank Centre over the years, particularly as part of Poetry International, Okri last appeared on the Royal Festival Hall stage just last year, in conversation with Jeremy Corbyn.

 

I think we definitely need brevity in our age... because we tend to talk much without thinking and I think it would be nice to think much without talking
Ben Okri

Nelson Mandela: the Presidential Years took place in Royal Festival Hall as part of 2017's London Literature Festival.

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