Dara Kell

You can learn a lot from a filmmaker’s credits. Dara Kell’s give credit where credit is long overdue — gay rights, domestic violence and shack-dweller associations such as Abahlali baseMjondolo — the focus of her award-winning documentary, Dear Mandela. Based in New York, this Rhodes University graduate spent more than four years travelling, filming, editing, even risking her life, to capture the heart of the movement but also the democracy that drives its success and South Africa’s housing failures. Dear Mandela has been screened in 28 countries and translated into eight languages. It was named Best South African Documentary at the Durban International Film Festival and won the Grand Jury Prize at the Brooklyn Film Festival. Yet Kell cites winning the community’s trust as her proudest moment. Making the invisible visible is what she does so passionately, or, as one audience member puts it: “There is something we have that’s beautiful, even though we are shack-dwellers, even though people might not notice us.” — Cat Pritchard