Mandela : A fight for freedom, a fight against racism

The play 46664 Prisoner Nelson Mandela tells the incredible story of a man who never gave up hope that justice could be brought to South Africa and that the racist apartheid system could be dismantled. It’s also the story of a man who suffered terribly for 27 years of his life, deprived of his wife, his daughter and his friends who never stopped fighting by his side.

On January 28, we went to the Alexandre III theater to see a play performed by Chengetai (as Winnie), Adrien Mubu (as Nelson Mandela), Vincent Vesperant (as Walter), Stephen Shagov (as White Afrikaner president) and Jeremy Biais.

Number 46664 was Mandela’s identification number when he was a prisoner for nearly thirty years in South-Africa. The play tells his life, from when he was a young boy named Rolihlahla to his death and it sheds light on his fight against apartheid. Apartheid was a system of racial segregation in South-Africa which separated white and black people everywhere and deprived black people from their citizenship.

Mandela’s political actions with the ANC led him and his best friend, Walter Sisulu, to prison when they started using violence to fight against the government unfair restrictions: he was condemned to life imprisonment in 1964. As a consequence, he spent 27 years in 3 different prisons but mostly on Robben Island where life conditions were very hard to put up with. His wife Winnie and his daughter would only be allowed to visit him every six months but they kept fighting, Winnie was even arrested several times.


Eventually in 1989, thanks to president De Klerk, he was released and together they put an end to the apartheid regime in 1991. Nelson Mandela was then Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and elected president of South Africa in 1994 which is without doubt his greatest achievement. Sadly, he died on December 5, 2013.

‘I liked this play, especially the music when they sang between each scene  and I liked the actor who played Mandela because we could see him becoming older and older through the play.I think this play illustrates how Mandela was a courageous man.’ Thomas

‘When Changetai was singing, I got chills. I felt anger at seeing such injustice against black people!’ Aiyana

‘ The performance of the actors was brilliant, they played as if they were living the story which allowed us to feel the injustice and the sadness there was at that time’ Lanna