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Goodbye Bafana (2007)

Goodbye Bafana is the true story of a white South African racist whose life was profoundly altered by the black prisoner he guarded for twenty years. The prisoner's name was Nelson Mandela.


Bille August


Bille August, Bob Graham (book) | 3 more credits »
7 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Joseph Fiennes ... James Gregory
Dennis Haysbert ... Nelson Mandela
Diane Kruger ... Gloria Gregory
Patrick Lyster ... Major Pieter Jordaan
Shiloh Henderson Shiloh Henderson ... Brent Gregory
Tyrone Keogh ... Brent Gregory
Megan Smith Megan Smith ... Natasha Gregory
Jessica Manuel ... Natasha Gregory
Faith Ndukwana Faith Ndukwana ... Winnie Mandela
Terry Pheto ... Zindzi Mandela
Leslie Mongezi Leslie Mongezi ... Walter Sisulu
Zingizile Mtuzula Zingizile Mtuzula ... Raymond Mhlaba (as Zingi Mtuzula)
Mehboob Bawa Mehboob Bawa ... Ahmed Kathrada
Shakes Myeko Shakes Myeko ... Andrew Mlangeni
Sizwe Msutu Sizwe Msutu ... Cyril Ramaphosa


James Gregory once lived in a farm and had befriended a native youth, Bafana, and had even had a photograph taken with him. Years later, now married to Gloria and father of three children (Chris, Brett, and Natasha), James has nothing but shame and regret, as many South African Caucasians in the oppressive Apartheid-era ridiculed him, leading him to hate Africans. He seeks to redeem himself by spying on imprisoned African National Congress Leader, Nelson Mandela. In the restrictive high security prison his job is to censor all written and verbal communications between prisoners, their visitors, and correspondence. James is uncomfortable when he witnesses Caucasian police and security officers' brutality against civilians, including infants, and tries to understand why Nelson became a rebel. This leads him to examine the 'Freedom Charter', a banned document, reportedly known to incite violence against 'whites'. And when he does read this document, he changes his mind about Nelson's ... Written by rAjOo (gunwanti@hotmail.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Based on the memoirs of Nelson Mandela's prison guard

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language including some sexual references | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


When the car explodes in front of an office building after two officers walk by, the blast should have shattered the office windows (and there are sounds of breaking glass), yet they remain intact. See more »


James Gregory: These ideas you'd kill for?
Nelson Mandela: These ideas I'd die for.
See more »


Follows Mandela (1987) See more »


(by Jan Luyt Pohl)
Music licensed courtesy of Gallo Music Publishers/Gallo Record Company
See more »

User Reviews

Goodbye Bafana
20 March 2008 | by rajdoctorSee all my reviews

Nelson Mandela – this movie is about him, and that is the only factor that made to select this movie.

But the story is not about Nelson Mandela (Dennis Haysbert) but about his prison guard James Gregory (Joseph Fiennes) who first serves as a prison guard (in 1968) for Mandela because he knows the African language Xhosa that Mandela and his comrades speak. He is transferred because he shows a soft corner for Mandela but due to international pressure is re-appointed in 1983 till the release of Mandela from prison.

While seeing the movie one feels that what a great honor to have – serving contemporary history's most respected leaders as prison guard. Joseph Fiennes shows his range as an actor filling all ranges of age profile – being young and energetic to middle aged character. Dennis Haysbert portrays the role of his life time with gut, gutsy and tremendous respect and dignity – in being Nelson Mandela – an honor for an actor.

The movie as rightly said by some critics is a history lesson of sorts. But please do not be mistaken by this comment. When I read that comment, I had two thoughts – whether I should go and see a history lesson? YES everyone who has a golden heart should see this movie. Every person who is by default has white skin should see this movie. It is simple, honest, and displays hidden prejudices of apartheid world that are prevalent even today in forms of class.

As Mahatma Gandhi was called terrorist, so was Nelson Mandela was labeled a terrorist. He used arms struggle for making his point. He wanted the ruling British to talk with nationalist fighters – for peace. But British and their allied countries never agreed for a one-to-one dialogue and the mayhem of anarchy, atrocity and violence continued for more than half a century in peaceful and beautiful South African country. The local inhabitants were brutally killed by invaders who occupied most part of resources land claiming it to be their own mother land.

My salute to Denmark Director Bille August who shows the apathy of human mind with everyday talks against terrorist – the same we talk today.

I was fortunate to be part of the audience seeing this movie.

(Stars 7.5 out of 10)

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Official Sites:

Official site


English | Xhosa

Release Date:

11 April 2007 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

The Color of Freedom See more »

Filming Locations:

South Africa See more »


Box Office


$30,000,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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