Press Centre

Trevor McDonald: Return to South Africa

  • Episode: 

    1 of 1

  • Transmission (TX): 

    Tue 19 Jun 2018
  • TX Confirmed: 

  • Time: 

    9.00pm - 10.00pm
  • Week: 

    Week 25 2018 : Sat 16 Jun - Fri 22 Jun
  • Channel: 

  • Status: 

The information contained herein is embargoed from all Press, online, social media, non-commercial publication or syndication - in the public domain - until Tuesday 12 June 2018.
Trevor Mcdonald: Return To South Africa
“It’s over thirty years since I saw for myself the horrors of Apartheid South Africa. To mark what would have been Nelson Mandela’s one hundredth birthday, I’ve returned to the visit places where I saw moments that would change the 
history of a country.” Sir Trevor McDonald
Nelson Mandela would have celebrated his one hundredth birthday this year and in this one hour documentary to mark this, Trevor McDonald is back in the country which he first visited as a journalist at the height of Apartheid. Trevor was the first journalist to interview Mandela after his release from prison – and witnessed history in the making. 
Since then South African society has gone through profound changes. But, is it still a land defined by division, inequality and violent crime – or can Mandela’s vision of a Rainbow Nation Mandela be seen in today’s South Africa?
In this highly personal and deeply affecting journey, Trevor goes to Vilakazi Street, the site of Nelson Mandela’s family home, and the place where he conducted the first interview with him following his release from prison after 27 years incarceration – an interview which Trevor describes as the pinnacle of his life in journalism.
Mandela changed South Africa forever - from both inside and outside his prison cell. But how much of what he wished for has come to pass? And what future for this country of great contrasts? 
Trevor encounters a very different Soweto to the townships of the 1980s, meeting real estate agent MATSELENG MOGODI of Snooks Estate Agent who sells luxury houses, to the new, black middle class. Trevor visits a Squatter Camp in Munsieville where white families, once protected by the economics of Apartheid, are now struggling to make ends meet. He also pays a visit to Pollsmoor Prison where Mandela spent six years as a political prisoner, famously declaring, “No one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.” At Pollsmoor, guided by ex-prison officer CHRIS MALGAS, he meets members of the infamous Numbers Gang and sets out to discover why there is so much violence on the streets of Cape Town.
On the outskirts of Cape Town, Trevor is driven by security company owner RICHARD STEINHOFEL through notorious Cape Flats – known by some as “the murder capital of the world”. Protected from the crime of Cape Town by security fences and patrolled gates, is the community of Val De Vie which in 2016 was voted the most luxurious housing development in South Africa.
Trevor then samples the hospitality of the Afrikaner enclave of Kleinfontein, in the company of its director DANNIE DE BEER, and discovers a self-sufficient Afrikaner community with its own strong cultural identity.
On Robben Island Trevor meets MAC MAHARAJ who spent 1964 to 1976 there alongside Mandela as a political prisoner, and who smuggled out Mandela’s manuscript for his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, on his release.
Finally, in the verdant winelands of Franschhoek, Sir Trevor visits MARK SOLMS of Solms Delta who mortgaged part of his vineyard - which had been in the family for seven generations - to give it to his black workers. Mark talks candidly about the issues of land reform and sharing what he calls his ‘ill-gotten gains’.
In Trevor McDonald: Return To South Africa, one of Britain’s most distinguished journalists and broadcasters discovers a very different South Africa to the one he last visited as a journalist over 20 years ago. 
This very personal film gives Trevor the opportunity to set foot once more in South Africa – to see for himself the current state of a nation which has played such a big part in his own life.