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Goodbye Bafana (2007)

GOODBYE BAFANA is the true story of a white South African racist whose life was profoundly altered by the black prisoner he guarded for twenty years. The prisoner's name was Nelson Mandela.

Director:

Bille August

Writers:

Bille August, Bob Graham (book) | 3 more credits »
Reviews
3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Joseph Fiennes ... James Gregory
Dennis Haysbert ... Nelson Mandela
Diane Kruger ... Gloria Gregory
Patrick Lyster ... Major Pieter Jordaan
Shiloh Henderson Shiloh Henderson ... Brent Gregory
Tyrone Keogh ... Brent Gregory
Megan Smith Megan Smith ... Natasha Gregory
Jessica Manuel Jessica Manuel ... Natasha Gregory
Faith Ndukwana Faith Ndukwana ... Winnie Mandela
Terry Pheto ... Zindzi Mandela
Leslie Mongezi Leslie Mongezi ... Walter Sisulu
Zingizile Mtuzula Zingizile Mtuzula ... Raymond Mhlaba (as Zingi Mtuzula)
Mehboob Bawa Mehboob Bawa ... Ahmed Kathrada
Shakes Myeko Shakes Myeko ... Andrew Mlangeni
Sizwe Msutu Sizwe Msutu ... Cyril Ramaphosa
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Storyline

James Gregory once lived in a farm and had befriended a native youth, Bafana, and had even had a photograph taken with him. Years later, now married to Gloria and father of three children (Chris, Brett, and Natasha), James has nothing but shame and regret, as many South African Caucasians in the oppressive Apartheid-era ridiculed him, leading him to hate Africans. He seeks to redeem himself by spying on imprisoned African National Congress Leader, Nelson Mandela. In the restrictive high security prison his job is to censor all written and verbal communications between prisoners, their visitors, and correspondence. James is uncomfortable when he witnesses Caucasian police and security officers' brutality against civilians, including infants, and tries to understand why Nelson became a rebel. This leads him to examine the 'Freedom Charter', a banned document, reportedly known to incite violence against 'whites'. And when he does read this document, he changes his mind about Nelson's ... Written by rAjOo (gunwanti@hotmail.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Based on the memoirs of Nelson Mandela's prison guard


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language including some sexual references | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Language:

English | Xhosa

Release Date:

11 April 2007 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

The Color of Freedom See more »

Filming Locations:

South Africa See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$6,264,867
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Goofs

When the car explodes in front of an office building after two officers walk by, the blast should have shattered the office windows (and there are sounds of breaking glass), yet they remain intact. See more »

Quotes

James Gregory: These ideas you'd kill for?
Nelson Mandela: These ideas I'd die for.
See more »

Connections

Follows Mandela and de Klerk (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Ek Verlang Na Jou
(by G Gibson / Virginia Lee)
Music licensed courtesy of Sun Pacific Music/Gallo Record Company
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
A Friendship Defined
12 July 2008 | by gradyharpSee all my reviews

While many books and films about South Africa's Apartheid have attempted to convey the tension and the eventual dissolution of that sociopolitical scheme, few histories bring us as close to the core of the schism as does Bille August's excellent film THE COLOR OF FREEDOM. Based on the book GOODBYE BAFANA by James Gregory (with Bob Graham) the story details the relationship between Nelson Mandela and prison warden James Gregory during Mandela's long imprisonment on Robben Island off the coast of South Africa, and the gradual friendship that occurred between these disparate men. Studying this development of a friendship provides an opportunity to better understand the concept of Apartheid and of the evils of racism in general.

Nelson Mandela (Dennis Haysbert) was convicted of treason and sentenced to life imprisonment on the desolate Robben Island for his non-violent attempts to end racism in South Africa, attempts that eventually resulted in work stoppages and resistance movements that moved the articulate, well-educated lawyer Mandela into the realm of activism. While on Robben Island he was guarded by one James Gregory (Joseph Fiennes), a pro-apartheid, cruel prison employee who was assigned to Mandela as a spy and censor because of Gregory's knowledge of the local language Xhosa (learned from his childhood when his best friend was a black boy named Bafana). Gregory lives on the island with this wife (Diane Kruger) and children and his commitment to his family provides a stark contrast to his hatred of his black 'Kaffir' prisoners: his involvement with the pro-apartheid status is strengthened by his direct communication with Intelligence in the cities of South Africa where his censored information from the prisoners leads to definitive capture and 'disposal' of the blacks. On a trip ashore Gregory and his wife and children witness first hand the beatings and cruelties of the whites against the blacks and Gregory returns to his duties on Robben Island with a gradually changing point of view for the model prisoner Mandela. They begin communicating in Xhosa and Gregory allows Mandela's wife Winnie (Faith Ndukwana) to spend more committed time with her husband on her restricted visits to Robben island. One particular misstep - Gregory passes Mandela's Christmas gift of a piece of chocolate to Winnie - threatens Gregory's status on the island, while at the same time bonding Mandela and Gregory like brothers. Gregory's life and philosophy have been changed by Mandela's powerful personality and spirit and his eventual release from prison into the new, freed South Africa has been aided in a small but meaningful way by Gregory - a reflection of Gregory's childhood bond with his friend Bafana.

August captures the tension and the atmosphere of South Africa in this visually stunning film. Fiennes is superb as James Gregory as is Diane Kruger as his wife. Dennis Haysbert conveys the spiritual essence of Mandela despite the fact that his physical appearance is not at all like the Mandela known so well from the still constant photographs of the diminutive freedom fighter we see frequently. But the film does convey the tenor of the changing times during the 27-year confinement of Nelson Mandela. The featurettes on the DVD offer lengthy history lessons about the real events referenced in the film and add immeasurably to the film's overall success. There is much to learn from this film in addition to the fact that it is a solid work of cinematic artistry. Grady Harp


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