I just came back from Invictus. Invictus is about the South African rugby team, which Nelson Mandela saw as a means to unite his nation. At the beginning of his presidency, black South Africans viewed the team as a symbol of Apartheid, so they mostly rooted for its opponents. Nelson Mandela himself rooted for its opponents for many years, but he changed his mind once he became President.

His aim was to reconcile whites and blacks. Part of his reason was practical, for he recognized that the white minority still owned the police and much of the economy, so it needed to be appeased. But he also sincerely believed in the power of forgiveness. To his black security guard, who didn’t like the idea of working alongside white security agents, Mandela said that forgiveness can free a person from fear. To his daughter, who remarked that the Matt Daimon character looked like the white policemen who threw the Mandelas out of their home, Nelson said that he had to put the well-being of the nation ahead of personal resentment.

Even in his day-to-day life, Nelson Mandela was humble and loving to those around him. When Matt Daimon asked a white security guard what kind of man Mandela is, the guard replied that the previous president didn’t know who he was, but Mandela brought him his favorite food from England.

There are many powerful moments in the movie: the black child dancing with the white police officers after the rugby team’s victory, Matt Daimon visiting Nelson Mandela’s prison cell (which, according to Roger Ebert, actually was Mandela’s prison cell), etc. But the scenes that had the most impact on me were the ones in which Mandela walked out into the stadium with a wide smile, hunched over because of his old age, waving as some booed him. That humanized Mandela for me, so I couldn’t help but like him.

I didn’t know anything about Rugby before I saw this movie, but it looks like football, only without the protective gear. Ouch!

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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4 Responses to Invictus

  1. Joel says:

    We had a Rugby team at SELU when I was there – and it was frighteningly awful to watch.

    I haven’t seen the movie, but would like too. I think that Mandela will continue to be mined for a long time for good stories, etc… as what the South African’s did is nothing short of amazing.


  2. jamesbradfordpate says:

    Hi Joel. Maybe you and Loftus can play against each other! 😀

    On my blogger blog, a South African lady commented that the movie didn’t do the event justice. Here’s her comment:

    “It was quite amazing! We had just had our first democratic elections, the economy was booming with the sanctions being lifted and money was entering the country, we stopped being the ‘skunks’ of the world. And then we won the Rugby World Cup… It was a very unifying experience for South Africans. And yes it was a great final!!”


  3. Joel says:

    Oh, I wouldn’t mind a game against Loftus, although I would hope that there are no referees 🙂

    You have made we want to see the movie even more! Of course, I still owe my dear wife a ticket to Avatar. We’ll see if I can persuade her to see Invictus first.


  4. Pingback: Links on Nelson Mandela | James' Ramblings

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