All posts by Ed Lamb

How Sports Helped End Apartheid

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Apartheid was a segregation system in South Africa in which people were divided according to their racial group. There were four racial groups in the country namely the whites, blacks, Indians and coloured. The whites dominated everything and were given more than what the other groups were provided. From medical care to beaches, education and other services, and even the best running sneakers, the white people were always superior to the other races.

This segregation began during the times that the country was under the rule of the Dutch Empire. However, it only became an official system after the election in 1948. In the 1950s, people who were against apartheid started to fight against the system, many of which resulted to violence. Opposing groups were banned and leaders who were fighting against the said system were put to jail. However, the opposition and resistance continued. Reforms were made in the 1980s but this didn’t stop the growing number of people who were fighting against apartheid. President Frederik Willem de Klerk began talks on the end of the apartheid system in 1990. It was abolished the following year, although it was only in 1994 that the non-whites were allowed to participate in the elections. Nelson Mandela was elected the President. He was the first black South African to hold the position.

The Role of Sports in the End of Apartheid

Aside from the resistance and oppositions of the non-whites, sports also played a huge role in the end of the apartheid system. Under the said system, South Africa had different sport institutions that were also based on race. For instance, there were different football institutions for whites, Indians, blacks and coloured during those days. White players had more support and got what they needed compared to the other races. This led the blacks, Indians and coloured to merge and create one football institution in 1951 so they could have more funds by sharing their budget and finances. It was named as the South African Soccer Federation (SASF).

The government even tightens the law concerning the segregation of races, making it even more difficult for these merged groups to play together. Competing in football games also became more challenging after a policy was made that opposed the merging of races in sports. Non-whites were not allowed to participate in international sports competitions and represent their country.

This didn’t stop people who were against apartheid to fight against the system. Media was used to expose the problems that the system had and questioned why non-whites could not join the South African team. Sports united the three racial groups against the white leaders that were not giving them equal rights. This sparked the sports boycotts that international sports organizations made on South Africa, which eventually helped in ending apartheid in sports.

International Sports Organizations that Banned South Africa Due to Apartheid

Several international sports organizations didn’t approve of the racial discriminations going on in the South African sports team. This is the reason why they banned the country from joining their competitions.

1. FIFA

Fédération Internationale de Football Association or FIFA suspended South Africa from joining the games in 1963. Proposals for an all-white and all-black team to join in the 1966 and 1970 World Cup respectively were also rejected.

2. Olympics

The International Olympic Committee did not invite South Africa to join the Olympics in 1964. After assuring that their teams would be made up of different races, they were about to be included again in 1968. However, this did not push through as African and other countries threatened to boycott the event if this happened. The country was officially removed from Olympics participation in 1970 as it was against apartheid sports.

3. World Chess Federation

The World Chess Federation expelled South Africa from joining the games as many participants protested against them because of their racial discrimination. It was only in 1992, during which apartheid has already ended, that they started competing again for the Chess Olympiad.

4. Golf

During the 1979 World Cup held in Athens, Greece; South Africa was banned, although they were able to compete again the following year in Caracas. The competition was cancelled the following year in Ireland because of their possible participation. Like with chess, they only joined the competition again in 1992, when apartheid was already abolished.

These were just some of the game organizations and events that banned South Africa from joining because of sports apartheid. This helped in ending the system as it put pressure on the pro-apartheids to end racism and give equal rights to non-whites to participate and represent the South African team.

Also read: How Nelson Mandela’s Dream Lives On

How Movie Production Has Changed with New Technology

How Movie Production Has Changed with New TechnologyMovies have always captivated our interests. It is the projection of man’s creativity and imagination. From epic war battles to unbelievable adventures, movies have always had their way of telling stories. But as soon as the credit starts to roll, the audience snaps back to reality, realizing that it was a grand production put together by a long list of actors, artists, musicians, writers, cinematographers and producers under the orchestration of one director. Billions of dollars are spent for every blockbuster Hollywood release. Average box offices sales for the whole of Hollywood alone falls to an average of US$11 billion with ticket sales reaching to more than US$1 billion in the US alone.

But the magic of Hollywood is not just in the money spent but also in the technology invested and used for film. Some of the most memorable movies from ET to The Titanic and beyond have employed groundbreaking technology to bring to life scenes that seem impossible to recreate. In a way, technology and filmmaking are closely knit together. Film and video cameras for example, have changed drastically over the years. From grainy film shots of the 1920s, movies are now being shot in Ultra­High Definition and even in 3D. So each time technology introduces something new, the movie industry upgrades as well. Here are some of the latest ones used in recent movie history.

1. Use of Depth Sensors.

With the integration of computer­generated imagery (CGI) and 3D motion capture, movies could be created in formats where a sense of realism is depicted in a 3 dimensional space. Typically, movies are viewed in a 2 dimensional format with no sense of depth. But with the introduction of 3D technology, movies have embraced the idea and have bravely included 3D formats alongside 2D releases. Depth sensors enhance the creation of 3D with the help of Microsoft Kinect. These sensors help create “wire frames” that include the depth of a character or object in order to generate CGI that blends more realistically with the background.

2. 3D Printing.

In the props department, use of technology can be found in 3D printing. Traditionally, movie props are handmade by expert craftsmen in a period of weeks or even months. But with 3D Printing, AutoCAD (or computer­aided design) along with CGI can be used \to design and print the props straight from the computer. Movies like Zero Dark Thirty, Guardians of the Galax y and Fast and the Furious 6 have employed 3D printing in their props.

3. Drones.

Another recent tech addition to the movie world are drones. These devices used to be a part of military technology, which aided the US Forces during the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. But after entering the consumer market by 2010, Hollywood picked up the potential of this technology and applied it to aerial shots and shooting action scenes. Movies like Skyfall, Spectre, Jurassic World, and Captain America: Civil War used drone shots to aid in the cinematographer in getting the proper shots for the scenes. If you read drone reviews, you’ll know that the DJ Phantom line is a cult favorite among videographers and photographers. However,these types of drones can only shoot particular types of scenes as they can only carry small cameras.

These are just some examples of how technology has aided the advancement of filmmaking. A lot of other movies have employed unique and groundbreaking tech like The Matrix, Lord of the Rings, and Edge of Tomorrow. But overall, there is no doubt that the partnership between Hollywood and Silicon Valley is built to last.

How Nelson Mandela’s Dream Lives On

nelson-mandelaSome people say that Nelson Mandela single-handedly changed the course of history.  Others refuse to think of him as anything less than a saint – a revolutionary man who led a group of desperately oppressed people through numerous bouts of civil turmoil. Either way you look at it, Nelson Mandela is an impressive human being whose dream still lives on in the minds and hearts of those who agree with his enlightened views.

Who Was Nelson Mandela?

For starters, the man was a philanthropist and a genius.  After all, his political positions on controversial civil rights issues lead him to become a beacon of hope for an entire nation of people.  Although he was threatened by numerous sources and ultimately jailed for 27 years, his legendary commitment to the fundamental rights of man ultimately made him a modern day martyr.

Mandela was eventually elected as the first black president of South Africa.  Although he passed away at the age of 95, his name is synonymous with undying courage today.  In fact, Nelson Mandela is recorded as saying, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.  The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”  Indeed, it was encouraging words like those which ultimately made Mandela’s dream of racial equality an international concern.

How Mandela Made the Impossible a Reality

In a time when establishing racial equality seemed like an impossible task, there was Mandela.  His inspirational words still ring true to this day, resonating in the consciousness of the entire planet.  “It always seems impossible until it’s done,” he would say.  While the nay-sayers and skeptics were constantly waiting for him to fail at his mission to free his people from the chains of apartheid, Nelson Mandela achieved what so many before him had said could never be accomplished.

How Nelson Mandela’s Dream Lives On

Nelson Mandela was such a successful world leader because he believed in the power of the educated and enlightened mind, and because he made sure to share that opinion with the world.  Despite the fact that he was imprisoned and persecuted for his views, he never gave up on his mission.  He never stopped believing that he had the power to change the world, and so he did.  It is that steadfast attitude which allowed him to not only make drastic positive changes but to also inspire future generations to do the same when the time came.  Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”  He was right on such a fundamental level, as can be seen in the modern world today.  It is obvious that his dream lives on through those words alone, especially when one considers how successful non-violent, well-organized movements have been in recent years.  Nelson Mandela may no longer be alive, but in the right hands his dreams will most likely live on for eternity.

How Coffee Culture Took Over South Africa

coffee-cultureSouth Africans love coffee and they now drink more of it than they ever have before. Coffee culture started to boom in the nation quite recently, in 2012, and it continues to be a significant trend.

Today, South Africans love visiting coffee shops, although Starbucks aren’t found on every block like they are in North America! They also love preparing coffee at home.

Now, let’s talk in greater depth about how coffee culture took over South Africa…

What Caused the Coffee “Boom”

It’s believed that the rise of South African coffee culture is linked with the emergence of boutique roasting companies. Since coffee being produced in the country and imported from other nations is of a higher caliber than in years past, it is perhaps more enticing to South African clients.

As well, more choices are out there in terms of coffee machines, coffee grinders, coffee pods, coffee beans and ground coffee. This opens up a world of choices for even the pickiest South African coffee drinkers. Basically, global trends in artisan coffee production hit South Africa before 2012 and coffee shops started opening up in order to meet increased customer demand.

Statistics show that four times as many coffee shops existed in 2012 in South Africa than were present in 2007. This is a huge change. Most South Africans prefer independently-owned coffee shops with character and uniqueness and this is why Starbucks hasn’t made an aggressive foray into the country.

While Starbucks coffees are available for home usage, Starbucks coffee shops are in short supply and there’s no reason to anticipate any change in the future. VIPs at Starbucks understand that South African coffee fans want to support local coffee shops as a rule, so they hold back from building their coffee shops in the country.

The desire of South Africans to support independent coffee shops is admirable. It’s all about supporting local entrepreneurs. This aspect of South African coffee culture is an important one, as citizens of many other countries tend to go for convenience and low price, rather than paying a bit more for artisan coffee from independent coffee shops.

Coffee shops of all types are found in South Africa, including the popular Bean There coffeehouse, which features minimalist décor and tasty brews, as well as the fun and unique Shift Espresso coffeehouse, which allows visitors to dream up their own specialty coffees, by offering an array of ingredient choices, from Oreo cookies to condensed milk and beyond.

If you’re planning a trip to South Africa, be sure to enjoy many cups of coffee from independent coffee shops while you’re there. When you do so, you’ll love the taste and you’ll also be exploring one of the nation’s hottest trends.

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom Movie Impacts Idris Elba’s Life

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There were many biopics that were made on the icon Nelson Mandela during his lifetime. Prominent filmmakers were able to bring to the screen the life of the activist. The film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom movie can be called a conservative film where the lead character was played by Idris Elba. The film is the autobiography that was well adapted by William Nicholson. British actor Idris Elba embodied the character of Mandela. The film starts with the early life of Mandela where Elba plays a young lawyer where he defends a maid. Mandela in the film gets involved in ANC struggle where he goes into hiding after disposing his identity papers. The young Mandela played by Idris Elba electrifying.

During the progress of the movie the director Chadwick shows him being disloyal to his wife and being an irresponsible father. During the 1960 massacre, he was seen as turning revolutionary by destroying factory buildings. In the film, you can also see the actor ready to die for the sake of independent South Africa. After this Mandela is sentenced to life, and it is here, Mandela turns into a bloodless fighter for democratic South Africa. The performance of Elba is impeccable. His early films like The Wire in which he played Stringer Bell or Pacific Rim as a stentorian commanding officer are definitely worth a watch.

Elba as Mandela gets the tone of the speeches right. The stage when Mandela is released from prison, the activist turns a statesman. It is here where the civil war is stopped through peace talks. The story of Mandela was always close to the heart of the locals in South Africa and Idris Elba had a big responsibility on his shoulders that he played to perfection. The actor at every stage tried to do justice to the role by ensuring that the image of the leader is not compromised despite the script demands it at a certain point of time. The achievements of Mandela have been clearly depicted in the film. The audience can get a better understanding of the life of Mandela and his ideology from this film.

Read Also A Look At Mandela’s Movies Released Before Three Decades

A Look At Mandela’s Movies Released Before Three Decades

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Nelson Mandela the man with a mysterious smile and a gentle yet commanding voice is a man of inspiration for millions. He is an encouragement for both adversaries and allies. There is a long list of actors that have played Mandela in reel life, and the list includes Morgan Freeman, Terrence Howard, Dennis Haysbert, Danny Glover, David Harewood and more. Lindane Nkosi is one actor of South African origin who made an impact in the film called Drum that talks about the 1950s anti-apartheid movement. This film was showcased at the London and Cannes film festival. The Mandela on the silver screen was portrayed as a liberal icon during the period 1980s and 1990s.

Another two epics that left an impact on the audience for years to come is Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi in the year 1983 played to perfection by Ben Kingsley and Fred Zinnemann’s A Man for All Seasons in the year 1966 played by Scofield.. The artists who have played Nelson Mandela have been hugely influenced by Kingsley and Scofield. In the 80s, Mandela movies and documentaries was a rage. Danny Glover in the 1987 Mandela movie played the early life character of Mandela as a political activist yet it did not get the desired results from the audience as he was unable to capture the intricacies of Mandela.

Mandela 1987 is about the first South African black president. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for the bloodless revolution. The film is directed by Philip Saville and stars Danny Glover and Tam Mpofu. Music for the film is by Richard Hartley. There is no doubt that Mandela is an indisputable leader and still continues to live through his ideologies. He has inspired millions of people through his bloodless revolution. The cinema medium at every point of time is trying to keep his legacy alive either through films or documentaries.

Read Also Mandela Biopic Comes Under Attack

Mandela Biopic Comes Under Attack

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The anti-apartheid man as he is popularly known as Nelson Mandela, the Nobel Prize winner in 1993 for his non-violence revolution to bring about racial equity has been the central character of focus in many films. He has not only inspired people in South Africa but across the globe through his writings. Imprisoned for 27 years he is a symbol of apartheid resistance. Mandela fought through non-violent means. Despite being a support of violence during his early days, he changed his ideology to achieve his goals through a bloodless revolution that helped him achieve success and become the first black president of South Africa.

Most Hollywood depictions of Mandela have been on his personality and ideologies instead of behavioral complexity. The lack of this had made the films more a documentary than suitable for movie theatres. Since 1980s many movies were created on Nelson Mandela but the irony is that South Africa actor is yet to portray his role. The movies are all lead by Hollywood or British actors. It is a regret that none of the directors were able to find a resourceful South African lead to play the character of this radiant personality. Mandela released in the year 1987 is a biopic that was made while he was in Pollsmoor Prison. It was a TV movie. The script for the film was written by Ronald Harwood, a South African. It was directed by Phillip Saville of BBC. The movie was filmed in Zimbabwe.

During the 80s, Mandela movies had a tone of anti-apartheid was highly receptive. This includes the commercially successful movie Gods Must be Crazy. This is a South African Comedy film that is directed by Jamie Uys. Cry Freedom released in the year 1987 talks about the friendship of a white South African newspaper editor Donald Woods and anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko. The film openly criticizes the racist policies of the white government in South Africa. The film was directed by Richard Attenborough. Denzel Washington played the role of Steve Bikom and Kevin Kline was Donald Woods. The movie brought laurels for Denzel Washington, who played the role to perfection as a mesmerizing black leader.

Read Also Nelson Mandela Movies Of The Millennium

Nelson Mandela Movies Of The Millennium

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Cinema has always been a platform to spread ideologies. The life of Nelson Mandela has been portrayed at different times. Born in the year 1918, Mandela was christened Nelson by his primary school teacher. He completed his graduation in the year 1943 from the University of South Africa. Mandela was involved in politics since his college days later he joined the African National Congress in the year 1944. In the year 1952 he was chosen the National Volunteer-in-chief of Defiance campaign. After fleeing from South Africa in 1962, he took refuge in Morocco and Ethiopia where he received military training.

Recent Mandela movies have portrayed him in positive light helping us identify him as a leader of the masses. There were various drama films that were made in the 2000s and the best among them that won accolades include Invictus 2009. Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon are the lead characters in the film that is based on the book Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation. Two popular Hollywood actors have worked hard to give strength to their characters in the film that brought them accolades.

Long Walk to Freedom is a British South African biopic directed by Justin Chadwick. It is inspired by the book written by Mandela. The autobiography of Nelson Mandela speaks of his early life, education, 27 long years in prison and becoming the president of South Africa. The film has Idris Elba in the lead role, and Naomie Harris play the character of Winnie Mandela.

Another inspirational film that hit the marquee was the 2013 released Winnie Mandela. It is a biography of Winnie Mandela written by Anne Mare du Preez. The film was directed by Darrel Roodt and has Jennifer Hudson and Terrence Howard. The film talks about the rural setting in South Africa and how a girl child was brought up in the community. The film though faced a few controversies when Winnie Mandela blamed the filmmakers for not taking her approval to create her biopic. Moreover, there has been a claim that South African actors were not given priority as the lead characters were American actors.

Successful Nelson Mandela Biopics Released Lately

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The anti-apartheid man Nelson Mandela with his legal background and art to understand people was able to successfully weave the political movement that made him the first black president of South Africa. His lessons on being proactive and not reactive have etched a place for him in the South Africa and world history alike. Since his active participation in the South African political scene many movies have been made on him and especially during the recent Mandela movies the film industry dominated by the American have shown the political activist in a positive light. The quality of being righteous without arrogance has made him a central character in many South African films.

Invictus released in the year 2009, where Morgan Freeman played Mandela to perfection. The film was directed by Clint Eastwood and is a sports drama. The movie is based on the book Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation. It talks about the events that happened in South Africa pre 1995 Ruby World Cup. This was the time South Africa hosted the event after throwing away apartheid. Matt Damon enacts the role of Francois Pienaar, the South African rugby union team captain. The film was released in the US in the year 2009. The title is taken from William Ernest Henley poem that was inspirational while he spent his days in the prison. The title means ‘undefeated’.

Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon earned the nominations for Academy Awards for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor. The film came up for positive reviews from critics. Another of Mandela films is the Long Walk to Freedom released in the year 2013. Director Justin Chadwick and William Nicholson of Gladiator fame were responsible for bringing this movie to life. This is an autobiography of Mandela. It talks about the adult life of Mandela. The film stars Idris Elba along with Naomie Harris. The film is made on the autobiography Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela.

How Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom Movie Influenced Idris Elba?

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The character of Nelson Mandela was depicted by many during various periods ranging from 1980 to 2013.One such film that was applauded for its script and acting skills of the lead actor Idris Elba is the Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom movie. Idris Elba played the role of the South African president Nelson Mandela to perfection.

The actor was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for his role. However, more than this what mattered for Elba is the appreciation from Mandela himself. The political activist saw the film and gave blessed the lead star. The actor affirmed that though he does not look any closer to the South African President they were alike in the spirit, and this mattered for the success of the film said the matinee idol.

Idris Elba who was not known much before the film became a star overnight. In an interview, the actor accepted that it put him on the map. Idris Elba is a British-born actor who perfected the role of Mandela in the biopic. The casting was approved by Mandela despite the least resemblance. The actor did not meet Mandela in person but took efforts to mingle with the South African locals and prepared intensely to get the character right on screen. Idris Elba said that while playing the role of the icon he realized the meaning of the work patience.

The early life of Nelson Mandela as depicted in the film was in poor light. In fact, the leader himself has admitted that he had both strengths and weaknesses. Many a times the actor confirmed that the film was a massive success and boosted his career. He also added that it had brought a change in him. The influence of the character was so deep that it made him do more for the development of the youth.