Last month, ONE sent two rockstar ONE Campus leaders to New York City to interview Idris Elba and Naomie Harris, stars of “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” and attend its premiere. Written by Ted Guerrero, Jr. and Kamra Sadia.
As student advocates for ONE, we feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel to New York City to interview Idris Elba and Naomie Harris, stars of “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” a new film about Nelson Mandela’s life.
We got to interview Idris and Naomie at a press event. We wanted to know what lessons Mandela’s life has for young people like us, particularly those involved in social justice.
Naomie’s role as Winnie Mandela changed her perspective of Nelson – who truly gave up his life for others. “He was a man all about service,” she said. “He sacrificed his family, his relationships, his life in order to serve his people because it was for the greater good of all.”
Idris said the film had a deep impact on him. “We are filmmakers, but in certain films, the films start to make who you are,” he said.
Playing Mandela caused him to think about whether there is more he can do as an individual, and as someone in the media eye, to help others. Those words resonated with us because that’s exactly what we try to do with ONE.
Being at the red carpet for the NYC premiere of “Mandela” on Thursday was so exhilarating. We’d never been so close to celebrities in our lives, and it was a huge honor to be there on behalf of ONE as members of the media.
We briefly chatted with former NFL player Michael Strahan, “Mandela” filmmaker Justin Chadwick and producer Anant Singh, and talked to Naomie and Idris again. And get this: Idris told us how inspired he was by ONE and our work!
The positive message reverberating around the red carpet was a great precursor to the movie we were grateful to see. It depicted Mandela as a man who decided to dedicate his life to fight for the rights of his people, to stand against the injustices of apartheid. We were deeply affected by the movie, as was the entire audience, and felt chills throughout.
Ultimately, this experience in NYC has been invigorating and inspiring, much like our internship with ONE and Chegg in South Africa and Zambia. We feel even more empowered to be advocates of change and will dedicate our lives to doing so.