A remarkable story of courage and resistance will be screened at The Bioscope. Dear Mandela tells of Abahlali BaseMjondolo and the fight for a home.

Dear Mandela

South African award-winning documentary, Dear Mandela, a moving tale about three friends who refused to be moved when the government promised to eradicate shantytowns by evicting shack dwellers, will be screened at The Bioscope in downtown Joburg from 18 to 22 January.

Dear Mandela is the remarkable story of Abahlali BaseMjondolo – Zulu for "people of the shacks". It is believed to be the largest movement of the poor to emerge in post-apartheid South Africa. The film received the Grand Jury Prize at the Brooklyn Film Festival, Best Documentary at the Brooklyn Film Festival, Golden Butterfly award at the Movies that Matter Festival, Best Documentary at the Montreal International Black Film Festival, and Best South African Documentary at the Durban International Film Festival.

Co-directed by South African film-maker and editor Dara Kell and Christopher Nizza, Dear Mandela has been described as "by turns inspiring, devastating and funny, the film offers a new perspective on the role that young people can play in political change and is a fascinating portrait of South Africa coming of age".

It takes viewers on a journey into the everyday lives of three dynamic leaders of the movement. Determined to stop the evictions, Mazwi, Zama and Mnikelo met their communities by candlelight to study and debate new housing legislation. The shack dwellers discovered that the innocuous-sounding KwaZulu-Natal Elimination and Prevention of Re-emergence of Slums Act, 2007 – the Slums Act – legalised mass evictions and violated the rights enshrined in the country's landmark Constitution. They challenged the Act all the way to the highest court in the land, the hallowed Constitutional Court.

On 14 October 2009, the court found the law to be in conflict with the Constitution and struck it down. But the extraordinary achievements of the shack dwellers did not come without a price. Their movement's very existence is threatened by shack demolitions, assassination attempts and other harassment.

When Zama and Mazwi are drawn into a dangerous mob attack, they learn of the contradictions inherent in the difficult decisions leaders must make, and experience how great leadership is often accompanied by great sacrifice.

For more information, visit The Bioscope's website.