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Mandela Daughters Learned of Father's Death Just Before Film Premiere

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December 11, 2013

Nelson Mandela's daughters Zenani and Zindzi were told of their father's death just before a screening of a film about his extraordinary life. They insisted that the film carry on, in front of a packed house at a star-studded premiere in London's Leicester Square. Among those in attendance were Prince William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

The two daughters, whose mother is Winnie Mandela, had met the cast and crew of the biopic, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, on the red carpet. They were not at the premiere but were in a London hotel when they got the news. However, they insisted that the premiere go ahead. Producer Anant Singh made the announcement after the film's end.

The audience had a one-minute silence in Mandela's honor, and then Prince William made a statement.

British actor Idris Elba, who plays Mandela in the film, made a public statement as well. The cast and crew canceled their post-premiere in favor of reflection on Mandela's life and legacy.

The film, which had been many years in the making, had earlier premiered in South Africa, New York, and Los Angeles.

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