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Film Review – LINCOLN

Venue: Cine 4, Ster- Kinekor
              Maerua Mall
Director: Stephen Spielburg
Screenplay: Tony Kushner
Players: Daniel Day Lewis;  Sally Field; David Stathearn; Joseph Gordon Lewitt; James Spader; Hal Holbrook; Tommy Lee Jones
Genre: historical drama
Rating: ***½

Abraham Lincoln is probably the most iconic political figure in American history and Daniel Day Lewis does achieve a multi-faceted character in his interpretation of this American President, best known for the abolition of slavery.
The film, though, deals with a very small part of his political career: his passionate devotion to passing the Thirteenth Amendment, a Bill which effectively ended slavery in America, prior to the conclusion of the Civil War and the re-unification of the northern and southern states. His determination to effect the passing of the Bill in the face of overpowering odds and a divided Republican party does illustrate certain aspects of his character: a razor-sharp intelligence honed by a legal background and experience; a misleadingly mild manner and quirky sense of humour which veils his iron will; and although he seems visionary rather than pragmatic, he does prove to be ruthlessly pragmatic and more than willing to obfuscate when necessary.
As with other films of the period, the abiding setting is gloomy and dark with verbose interchanges in dingy, stuffy, overcrowded interiors, filled with horse-hair-stuffed furniture and fussy ornaments. while brocade curtaining does a brave job of shutting out natural light. Most of the characters are white-haired gentlemen with faces sprouting healthy sideburns, or elegant goatees and handlebar moustaches.
Based upon a book, the film strives to be historically accurate and much of the weighty dialogue in polysyllabic English ( as testament to the level of education of the superior classes of the time) is devoted to explanations of the various arguments and attitudes of the political movers and shakers in 1865, four years into the Civil War.
The date at the commencement of the action is 1 January 1865 and most of the action covers the month of January and the ruses and strategies by Lincoln and his cronies to convert a 60 plus opposition to his Amendment to a two-thirds majority to carry his Bill. Crippled by a divided Republican party Lincoln pursues Democrats with messianic fervour, not sullying his own reputation with accusations of ‘buying’ votes, but employing a team of three dubious characters led by W.H. Bilbo (a portly James Spader) none of whom exhibit any qualms about the persuasive promises for patronage and position in exchange for supporting the Bill to Democrats in imminent danger of unemployment. It is only in the closing hours prior to the vote in the House of Representatives that Lincoln himself visits the president clandestinely, using any argument, either emotive or rational, which is best suited to change attitude.
Lewis is supported by a strong cast. Molly Lincoln (Field) is a bitter, grieving woman caught up in a syndrome of blaming her husband. She is depicted as her husband’s intellectual equal, and sits in the House with her maid daily to keep abreast of the avid and sometimes acrimonious debate. She understands his motives, logic, and argument, although she cannot adopt parity of reason: her basis for argument is womanly, based upon hatred of the war which took one of their sons.
The film depicts Lincoln as a master of anecdote: he has a simple homily for every argument based upon his own experiences, laced with quirky humour, which simplifies the situation for those who are less intellectually agile. His hesitancy of manner belies his mastery of political strategy but he demonstrates anger with Cabinet members who are sufficiently brave enough to oppose him. When Molly whines about the state of her health, owing to a carriage accident, which she is convinced is an assassination attempt upon her husband, Lincoln offers no remorse or guilt. In fact, he refrains from any comment whatsoever.
History has made Lincoln an icon; the film portrays a man entirely admirable but not always likeable. The heavy dialogue, for those who are sufficiently focussed to follow it assiduously, emphasises that the Amendment and the conclusion to the Civil War are irretrievably linked. Many are prepared to vote affirmative simply in the hope that the success of the Bill will trigger an ending to the war. Mr and Mrs Jolly, who come to see Lincoln to protest illegal tenancy of a toll booth, are harnessed politically to serve Lincoln’s cause. Lincoln proves a brilliant political opportunist, willing to veer close to the wind, legally and politically, to bend the citizens’ will to his own.

About The Author

Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia


20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.