"Life is Wonderful: Mandela's Unsung Heroes" is a documentary film by Sir Nicholas Stadlen, former judge of the High Court of England and Wales. He captured the personal experiences of the last remaining trialists and their defence lawyers, sharing the human stories and the legal arguments used in the Rivonia Trial. A wide team of people organised a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity for participants to understand the complexities of the times and to engage with Sir Nicholas Stadlen, who had much to share that did not make the final cut.
The team included:
- Sir Nicholas Stadlen, QC
- The Rt Hon The Lord Mayor Alderman William Russell
- The Recorder of London, Mark Lucraft QC
- Alderman & Sheriff Professor Michael Mainelli
- Sheriff Christopher Hayward CC
- Alderman John Garbutt JP, High Sheriff of Greater London
- Sharon Constançon, Chairman, South African Chamber of Commerce (UK)
- John Battersby, Rian Raghavjee, Stuart Williams, and Stuart Round at Event Factory
- Morgan Rose, Peter Welch, and Alex Kemsley at Z/Yen Group
On the night, the agenda was:
- 18:00 Welcome by Alderman & Sheriff Professor Michael Mainelli
- - The Trial and its changing impact on South Africa - Sharon Constanҫon, Chairman, South African Chamber of Commerce
- - Address by the Rt Hon The Lord Mayor of The City of London, Alderman William Russell
- - Sir Nick Stadlen QC will explain the birth of the documentary
- 18:10 Film Screening – “Life Is Wonderful: Mandela’s Unsung Heroes”
- 19:40 Responses to the film – Stuart Williams & Rian Raghavjee
- - Questions and Answers with Sir Nick Stadlen QC & John Battersby
- 20:12 Closing address from HHJ Mark Lucraft QC, The Recorder of London
- 20:15 Thanks and close from Alderman & Sheriff Professor Michael Mainelli
This was run for free with support from the South African Chamber of Commerce and Z/Yen Group. Over 300 'screens' attended, but many people were doubled up, so final attendance was over 400 people. The Interest and Attentiveness ratings were 87 and 87.24 respectively. These are some of the highest scores experienced in our past 150 webinars this year (any interest rating or attentiveness rating over 55 is excellent). This suggests an incredibly high audience engagement throughout the webinar which, for a 2.5-hour event, reflects well on the quality of the session.
As well as 52 questions for Sir Nick during the evening, there were numerous emails afterwards:
- "This was fascinating! Thanks for organising this."
- "Thank you for a wonderful evening."
- "What a wonderful film - thank you very much. Unbelievable how these men can forgive and live on."
- "Thank you so much – inspiring."
- "Outstanding evening. Thank you."
- "Thank you so much - an extraordinary film of courage and the human condition at its best."
- "I am a huge fan of well-made historical documentaries and found Sir Nicholas Stadlen’s film inspired, educational, and uplifting. One can only hope that it has a similar impact on the youth of South Africa."
- "I found the Rivonia Trail film absorbing, humbling and inspirational. We need to keep up the fight for law, democracy and facts. Thanks for the invitation. Keep protesting."
If you would like to see the event recording (not the film), it's posted here. Though the film retains its rights, the trailer itself is worthwhile: