Breath of Clarity

The Constant Battle for Basic Respect

The film Dear Mandela is based on a post-apartheid social movement that protested the government’s forceful destruction of African villagers’ shack-styled homes. Dear Mandela guides the audience through the powerless people’s effort to make their voices heard, which is a central theme of the ILS 200 Critical Thinking and Expression course.

The movie’s purpose is to make the audience realize the brutal social struggle that oppressed individuals face in a political system that practices structural violence (action by large-scale institutions that make extensive process required to abolish inequality). The film illustrates that inferior members of society must go through an unreasonable amount of strides to earn their basic human rights. The individuals explain that the government destruction of housing is directly unconstitutional, but the authority took advantage of the public’s limited access to an attorney. Without an attorney, the group wouldn’t be able to establish enough ethos to be listened to. There was a task team established to study the constitution sentence by sentence, as it was agreed that those extreme procedural measures were needed to just initially challenge the law.

The leaders of the movement, who spent countless time and energy fighting for the cause, were set up for failure because of their exhaustive lifestyle. Each individual needed to fulfill multiple roles (parent, student, worker) for his/her family in addition to being an activist. The resilient individuals explained that the only way that they were able to overcome this amount of adversity was because there was no other option.