The Man Who Drove with Mandela

What the Critics are Saying

A brisk, intelligent portrait … an important film but also a fascinating and entertaining one. — The Sunday Times (London)

Pricing and Viewing Options

Home Use

About the Film

Featuring Corin Redgrave as Cecil Williams, in a tour de force performance

How did South Africa come to be the first country in the world to embody LGBT rights in their post-Apartheid Constitution? It was in large part due to the courageous efforts of Cecil Williams, an unsung hero whose moving life story is told in the feature documentary, “The Man Who Drove With Mandela”.

In 1962, at the height of oppression in apartheid South Africa, a gay white theater director was arrested with Nelson Mandela; his name was Cecil Williams. This unusually revealing portrait of one of the historic figures behind Nelson Mandela’s long struggle for freedom in South Africa introduces viewers to new perspectives on these historic times.

In the early 60s, Mandela traveled incognito across South Africa, organizing armed rebellion against the apartheid regime. Driving a gleaming Austin Westminster, Mandela was disguised as the chauffeur for an elegant, impeccably dressed white man. That man was Cecil Williams – a leading Johannesburg theater director, a committed freedom fighter and a gay man.

Starring Corin Redgrave, “The Man Who Drove With Mandela” blends dramatized accounts of key incidents in William’s life with archival footage, home movies and contemporary interviews to tell the story of the personal and political bravery of a forgotten hero.

Produced and directed by Greta Schiller. Written and researched by Mark Gevisser. Producer Mark Gevisser, Beulah Films, South Africa. Produced in Association with Channel Four (UK), AVRO (Netherlands), SA Broadcasting, VRT-CANVAS (Belgium), Corporation for Public Broadcasting (USA). The London Production Fund, the British Film Institute and South African Department of Arts and Culture.

Selected Festivals, Awards and TV Broadcasts

  • Glaad Award nomination

  • Best documentary at Berlin International Film Festival, 1999

  • Gay Teddy Bear Award for Best Documentary, Berlin International Film Festival, 1999

  • Theatrically released in Holland, USA, Germany, Spain, New Zealand, and the UK.

  • Screened at over 50 international festivals, including London, Vancouver, Sao Paolo, Jerusalem, Seattle, Melbourne.

  • Selected for inclusion in South Africa’s official celebrations of Nelson Mandela’s release and Twenty Years of Freedom!