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Invictus-How Nelson Mandela inspired the South African rugby team

Updated on September 27, 2011
His people needed a leader , he gave them a champion
His people needed a leader , he gave them a champion

Invictus-An inspirational movie

Invictus is a movie about how Nelson Mandela used the South African rugby team, popularly known as the springboks, to ease the tension between black and while communities and to unite a nation and to rally behind one flag. It is directed by Clint Eastwood and based on the book "Playing the Enemy" by John Carlin. Although the film is about how Mandela inspired the rugby team it also shows the remarkable leadership qualities shown by Mandela himself and Morgan Freeman does a great job as Mandela. There are subtle references that makes the point while not over emphasizing it. I knew about Nelson Mandela and have heard that he is a great leader but after watching this movie my admiration for him grew further, I think the South Africans owe him a great debt and hopefully the leaders of my country would drew inspiration from him.

Invictus at Amazon

Mandela the leader

The difference a leader can make for a nation is best symbolized by one statement in the movie , when Nelson Mandela's party won the elections a white South African says "Look what happened in Zimbabwe ?" and to me that shows how a leader can change the destiny of a country. There are many other instances where Mandela intervened to solve delicate matters between the white and black South Africans. One instance is when they try to change the name Springboks which was so treasured by the white community. It also shows how Mandela tried to ease the tensions between the black and white communities by doing simple things like holding rugby coaching clinics for blacks attaching white bodyguards to his personal guard.Having stayed in prison for so many years it would have being easy for him to listen to the black community and take away what belonged to the white people but his actions changed the destiny of a nation. Coming from Sri Lanka where there was a civil war for close to 30 years I found this story close to my heart and day to day life and there is a lot Sri Lankans can learn from this beautiful movie. Below video has one of my favorite dialogs in the whole movie and it may be the most important dialog in the whole movie as well.

I'm the Master of my Fate, I'm the Captain of my soul

Playing the Enemy and Mandelas Autobiography

Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation
Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation

Playing the Enemy by John Carlin , the film was based on this book


The Film and the Acting

The movie is about how Mandela inspired the springboks to win the rugby world cup so if you are looking for detailed life story of Mandela then you would be disappointed. Although there are references to the tough time he had in the prison and to his marriage troubles they are not addressed in detail. I'm Morgan Freeman fan so my opinion might be bit biased here but I think he has done a great job playing the role of Mandela. Matt daemon does a good job and so does the other supporting cast but there performances are overshadowed by the commanding performance of Freeman. There are some small mistakes in the rugby matches but unless you are a die hard rugby fan you are not likely to notice those small issues. Overall I found the movie really good and definitely very inspiring.

Invictus the poem by William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul. 


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