“I’m still shocked, being an African American and growing up in school we not only learnt about African American history, but also African history and black history-–but we never heard about Winnie Mandela and her dedication and what she did for her country. And to not know that—something so powerful—that’s something that needs to be told, and that’s something we should know about—and that’s my drive and my passion—to be able to tell that story.” — Jennifer Hudson on her role as Winnie Mandela

From soul singer (Dreamgirls) to Carrie Bradshaw’s personal assistant (Sex and the City) to southern maid (Secret Life of Bees), Jennifer Hudson soon returns to the screen as Winnie Mandela. Quite a jump, no? I guess once you have that Academy Award under your belt you can play anybody. You know this upcoming movie is based on a book. More on that:

Winnie Mandela: A Life
by Anne Marie du Preez Bezdrob

Everyone has an opinion about Winnie Mandela, and usually a strong one. She has been adored, feared and hated more than any other woman in South African history. But few people know much about the life behind the headlines, myths and sound-bites. This biography is an in-depth and intimate look at Winnie Mandela’s personal and political life, and takes the reader on a remarkable journey of understanding. The book traces her development from talented and privileged child to dedicated social worker, caring wife and mother, and fiery political activist. It examines her vigorous campaign to keep the name of her jailed husband alive, and explores her own harassment, imprisonment and isolation at the hands of the security police. Finally, the book investigates the events that have made Winnie Mandela such a controversial figure: the allegations of kidnapping and murder, her divorce from Mandela, and the current fraud charges. Winnie Mandela’s journey to this point is traced with understanding and honesty, in this fascinating and balanced biography of a most enigmatic woman.

The film is set to debut at film festivals in 2011. I don’t know if I’m ready to see Terrance Howard as Nelson Mandela. Jennifer, I can see pulling off the role…Terrance, not so much. Check out the trailer to see whether they mastered the dialect.

Happy reading, y’all!