''Goodbye Bafana'', or ''The Color of Freedom'' (US), is a 2007 drama film, directed by Bille August, about the relationship between Nelson Mandela (Dennis Haysbert) and James Gregory (Joseph Fiennes), his censor officer and prison guard, based on Gregory's book ''Goodbye Bafana: Nelson Mandela, My Prisoner, My Friend''. The film also explores the relationship of James Gregory and his wife as their life changes while Mandela is under Gregory's watch. Bafana means 'boys'. Gregory lived on a farm and had a black friend when he was a child, which explains his ability to speak Xhosa.


The young revolutionary Nelson Mandela is arrested, and it is the task of censor James Gregory to watch him. He has long since moved to South Africa with the family for his work in the prison of Robben Island, and slowly he clashes with the politics and racist culture of his countrymen.


* Joseph Fiennes as James Gregory * Dennis Haysbert as Nelson Mandela * Diane Kruger as Gloria Gregory * Norman Anstey as Jimmy Kruger * Faith Ndukwana as Winnie Mandela * Terry Pheto as Zindzi Mandela * Zikhona Mda as Zenani Mandela * Leslie Mongezi as Walter Sisulu * Zingizile Mtuzula as Raymond Mhlaba * Mehboob Bawa as Ahmed Kathrada * Shakes Myeko as Andrew Mlangeni * Sizwe Msutu as Cyril Ramaphosa

Factual basis

The autobiography film was based on, ''Goodbye Bafana: Nelson Mandela, My Prisoner, My Friend'', was derided by Mandela's longtime friend, the late Anthony Sampson. In Sampson's book ''Mandela: the Authorised Biography'' he accused James Gregory, who died of cancer in 2003, of lying and violating Mandela's privacy in his work ''Goodbye Bafana''. Sampson said that Gregory had rarely spoken to Mandela, but censored the letters sent to the prisoner and used this information to fabricate a close relationship with him. Sampson also claimed that other warders suspected Gregory of spying for the government, and that Mandela considered suing Gregory. Writing in The Guardian, critic and historian Alex von Tunzelmann, stated that the film was a "dubious tale" of Nelson Mandela's imprisonment based on his prison guard's memoirs, and that it was a story that contradicted all other known accounts of his time in prison. She went on to say that there was no excuse for the "historical negligence in this movie", while stating that its implicit dismissal of the contradictory accounts of Nelson Mandela and others could be seen as insulting. In his own autobiography, ''Long Walk to Freedom'', Nelson Mandela mentions James Gregory on two occasions. The first is during Mandela's recollection of his incarceration in Pollsmoor Prison: The second time Mandela mentions Gregory in his autobiography is when he recalls the day of his release from prison in 1990: On the ''Goodbye Bafana'' DVD, a segment about the creation of the film, ''The Making of Goodbye Bafana'', contains an interview with Nelson Mandela where he speaks of James Gregory:


External links

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BBC news, 12 February 2007: ''Mandela movie launches in Berlin''
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