Naomie Harris on playing the ‘intimidating’ role of Winnie Mandela

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Naomie Harris, in the role of Winnie Mandela.

Naomie Harris, in the role of Winnie Mandela.

The recent death of Nelson Mandela continues to shine the spotlight on his fight for civil rights in his native South Africa. His rise to power in that country was slow, and his family shared in the victories and defeats along the way.

One person in Mandela’s life stands out: his former wife and mother of his children, Winnie Mandela. She stood by her husband’s side at critical points in the struggle against apartheid.

But Winnie Mandela became, arguably, an even more polarizing figure in that country. She was entrenched in politics and admonished publicly for some controversial things she advocated and was linked to.

Actress Naomie Harris plays Winnie Mandela in the recently-released biopic Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. She spoke to KCRW’s Steve Chiotakis.

Watch the trailer for the movie here: