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Movie Review: Invictus (2009)

Updated on October 11, 2013

A call to Lead

Overview of the Movie

This movie is a narrative based on South Africa’s former president Nelson Mandela. The story is about how this former president who was fresh from prison (after being there for nearly three decades) collaborated with the captain of that countries’ rugby team in an endeavor to creating unity and peace in the nation. President Mandela who has just been elected by the electorate appears to be at par with the economical and racial status in that era of apartheid. Once he assumes office, he interestingly forgives his captors and former aggressors. This is unlike many who would find cause to revenge in such a situation. Mandela has a strong notion that the universal language of sport could be employed to create unity among the populace. In this perspective, he rallies the nation’s rugby team in making their historic run to the world cup championship in 1995. In this endeavor, he succeeds in creating the national unity so anticipated.

Leadership Moments in the Movie

When viewing this movie, it is apparent that Mr. Nelson Mandela is one of the most compelling leaders of the present times. This is because, though many could not see any hope of unity or prosperity in the nation, he is determined to heal a badly divided nation using wise decisions. Therefore, he deserves profound admiration. From the movie, it is vivid that Mandela is a role model since he does not waste any opportunity he encounters to serve the people. Any right thinking leaders is responsible for understanding the plights of his or her people. Mandela knew quite well what was hailing his people and was at hand to finding the remedy. This leader embraced this responsibility in ways many people could not articulate. We can therefore describe him as a born leader.

According to this documentary, Nelson Mandela spent almost three decades in prison. While there, he was strongly guarded by white Afrikaner guards who were his sworn enemies during the apartheid period. He however admits that as a normal human being, he felt hateful towards his captors and had to struggle with deep depression in his prison times. Most of us could lose hope in such a situation. Mandela however did not lose any hope and used such moments to look for more opportunities in furthering his cause. He appropriately used this time to understand his captors more. Interestingly, he viewed the prison guards not as enemies, but his subjects to be in future.

A true leader is the one who does not create enmity or use the opportunity to revenge against his rivals. Understanding those things which are important to people is the only possible way to furthering democracies and bridging the differences even among the rivals. Mandela as a true leader appears to understanding this aspect quite well. It is clear from this movie that he did not engage himself with arguments with prison guards over his views or political standings at this time. What he did was to scrutinize their celebrations, language, leisure times and culture in general. This is because as true leader, he realized that true connection could only be made through the people’s daily life culture. This sensitiveness is virtually rare to many leaders and they are among other elements that elevated him and his leadership positions to different perspective.

Mr. Mandela appears to be interested to people. This is derived from the manner he deals with his staff in his office. He virtually knows all of his staff by name, and consistently inquires about their well being, families and so on. Despite him being a leader, he appreciates everything done to him by these people. This is indeed a virtue which many leaders lack or ignore. In fact, one of the characters in the movie named Damon admires him as he speaks kindly to a woman who has brought him some tea.

The following traits can be attributed to President Mandela; these characters as depicted in the movie: By pouring tea himself instead of waiting for someone to do so for him shows that he is a humble guy. Other people in such ranks would not do this and they would view it as demeaning themselves. Another element in his character is that he appears to be open- minded. This is because, despite him being served with British tea, he still enjoys (or pretends to enjoy it) even though he is not accustomed to it.

Presidents Mandela is also a visionary leader since despite his nation being deeply divided at that time; he views himself as a president heading one united state, and not two opposing races under the system of apartheid. In this cause, he endeavors to employ his leadership skills and talent in creating a unified nation under the name of South Africa. I can also describe Mr. Mandela as a polite chap, respective and welcoming since he appears to have deep respect for whomever he interacts with.


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