In the film Invictus there are many great correlations to the fight for everyday life. There is a civil uprising in South Africa. One of the main focuses in this work is to show how one team can unite a country. There are so many uphill battles that they will have to face in order to settle a nation. Nelson Mandela uses his knowledge of the human nature to unite a country. The newly elected South African President Nelson Mandela faces challenges of balancing racial tensions from the apartheid era that had not completely disappeared. Crime and unemployment are also part of the country’s largest problems that Mandela must face while facing the stand on race, social class, poverty, and even believe in forgiveness from a country which has suffered great depression.
The title in the film Invictus means to be “undefeated” in Latin. Nelson Mandela, imprisoned for 27 years, was released in 1990 and elected President of South Africa that followed the fall of the apartheid, which was racial segregation that the ruling party enforced through legislation. Instead of using revenge against the white population who put him in jail, he seeks forgiveness. He leads by example and finds a general love for Rugby and he wants his Nation to find a common ground to unite on. Mandela convinces a South African Sports Committee, which is dominated by blacks, to support the Springboks rugby team, which symbolize white supremacy, which is set to host the 1995 Rugby World Cup in one year. Mandela meets with the captain of the Springboks rugby team, François Pienaar, and implies that a Springboks victory in the World Cup will bring the nation together. During his time in prison, Mandela uses inspirations and a poem “Invictus" that held so dearly to his heart and shares it with Pienaar. Nelson passes these teachings on to his new friends, the team captain of the Rugby team which is what Captain Pienaar. The team captain believes in Nelson and wants to unite and show that in spite of the negative and differences this nation is a whole and not divided. Many South Africans from both races doubt that rugby, or any sport, could unite a nation that has over 50 years of racial tension history. Mandela and Pienaar both support the unity of the country can be restored with the nationalism. Support for the Springboks begins to multiple among the black population during the opening games and all the races started to support the Springboks and made it to the final match against New Zealand, which is the best rugby team in the world. To become a Nation they must have a song one that inspires a whole to believe in forgiveness and look past the color of one’s skin. Mandela observes the black community cheer against the home team, the Springboks, in the stadium which represents the presence of prejudice and is also represented how Mandela felt while imprisoned on Robben Island before he came to have forgiveness. Pienaar mentions his amazement that Mandela "could spend thirty years in a tiny cell, and come out ready to forgive the people who put [him] there." Our textbook, Social Issues in Sport (Woods 298) correlates sports and nationalism that resulted in South Africa being expelled from the 1964 and 1968 Olympics and describes nationalism is as an expression of devotion to one’s country (Woods 297). The publicity resulted in added pressure to reform a government that oppressed black citizens for over 50 year of apartheid. “Politics is the art and science of government, of influencing governmental policy, or of holding control over a government.” It’s an exciting sports movie, an inspiring tale of prejudice overcome and, above all, a fascinating study of political leadership (Wood 298). President Mandela’s story is so wide known and he reflects such a moral prestige that provides his country with a political backbone that was learned after a difficult life of 27 years imprisoned. In the end they fight in overtime for the win against a country that was unbeatable. This shows you how you can overcome race, social class, and from inspiration. The rugby team and Nelson Mandela united the country which had so many different obstacles to overcome. On an individual basis, Nelson Mandela and all the people had to forgive so they could move forward and not seek revenge, because if they would have nothing would come out of the new government and the civil battles would never have ended. This is a perfect of example of how sports and regular life have so many things in common from overcoming a loss to showing if you don’t succeed together then we all fail. The film connected how a sport united a nation under opposing social classes, politics and racial differences. This film was such a great example of how the underdog succeed expectations while overcoming adversity and believing in their selves, their nation, their people, and their government. The film also expressed the loyalty for a country that was so divided in the beginning but ultimately united together regardless of race or social class and showed how much Mandela overcame as a prisoner and president. The film was a great example of unity and showed “if you fail, you fail together, but if you succeed then you succeed together.” President Nelson Mandela was able to lead the country of South Africa that was going in many different political and social directions to become united by a single sport called Rugby, which was not understood and is still not understood widely in the world, but used the sport to symbolize nationalism and make his country prosperous and happy.
Woods, Ronald B., Social Issues in Sport Second Edition. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2011.