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“I am the Master of my Fate, I am the Captain of my Soul”

            Recently the movie produced by Clint Eastwood starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon has gained much acclaim. The movie comes on the wake of South Africa hosting the 2010 Soccer World Cup.  Soccer has been one of the most democratic sports in the World played with a ball, tin can, stone or sock and in most countries is known as “football”. 

            Evoking events leading up to June 1995, the movie commences with Nelson Mandela just having been elected as president after having been imprisoned by an apartheid regime  for 27 years on Robben Island.  Natural inclination and provocation by the black majority in South Africa was to seek revenge, but instead Mandela forgives his oppressors and seeks unity and hope in creating a new vision for the country.  Rugby becomes a healing balm to a country with risk of a race war.  Playing the game becomes a political statement for Mandela. 

            Morgan Freeman for his role as Nelson Mandela, received an Oscar nomination for his role and NBR’s Best Actor Award.  National Rugby team captain, Matt Damon, as Francois Pienaar was nominated for an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor.     Despite insurmountable odds the South African Springboks are able defeat New Zealand All Blacks and win the Rugby World Cup.

            Mandela prevents the disbanding of a practically all-white team, the Springboks, he encourages leadership skills in the young captain.  In this way, Mandela overcomes the prejudice of his own majority black countrymen who see the team as a symbol of the racist regime.  The game unites blacks and whites as no other political maneuver could have done. 

            The title “Invictus” meaning unconquerable, is taken from an English poet William Ernest Henry in the late 1800’s whose work had inspired Mandela during his imprisonment for over 2 decades. 

            Inspirational on leadership of Mandela, the movie relies heavily on many Rugby plays that leave you wondering about how this game is played. 

            Once again 2010 World Cup is being used as a political pivotal unifying factor though much has changed since the days of apartheid.  In 1995, for the first time in South Africa,  blacks and whites were seen dancing and hugging in the streets after the great victory.

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