The Giant is Falling

TWENTY-two years ago, when Nelson Mandela became the first democratically elected leader of a South Africa still emerging from the shadow of apartheid, hopes were high that the hero of the anti-apartheid struggle would lead the nation into an era of equality and prosperity.

Three years after his death, though, the country is wracked by turmoil, led by a deeply unpopular president who has stumbled his way through a string of embarrassing political scandals. The South African rand has tumbled to near-record lows. Inequality has only worsened in the years since Mandela’s African National Congress (ANC) took power. Across the country, a wave of young activists is fighting bitterly against the status quo, even calling into question the legacy of one of the world’s most-beloved icons.

In the opening minutes of “The Giant is Falling,” the follow-up to his Emmy Award-winning “Miners Shot Down,” South African documentarian Rehad Desai asks a simple question: “Where did it all go wrong?”

READ more of Christopher Vourlias’ review on Variety.com