I spent two nights getting through this movie. Two nights not because it was boring, but because it was so full that I couldn’t watch it half asleep. My dad’s admiration of Nelson Mandela has rubbed off on me and I have gained my own full appreciation of this man and the things he was able to accomplish in one short lifetime. He was a leader who was slow and deliberate, something leaders today around the world could learn a lot from. No power trips, no decisions simply because they please the majority. Having the concept of the national rugby team thrown in was also brilliant.
There was a scene when Matt Damon’s character, Francois Pienaar, who is the captain of the rugby team, is having a retrospective moment. When asked if he was nervous about his upcoming match, he replied, “no, I was thinking about how you spend 30 years in a tiny cell and come out ready to forgive the people who put you in.” We see the cell where Mandela spent a good portion of his life and it is powerful that after having that kind of experience, he came out level-headed and ready to make changes in his country. Without bitterness, without a hard heart.
There is much to be learned from the line of the poem, Invictus:
I am master of my fate.
I am captain of my soul.
Nelson Mandela was an inspired leader. I won’t say the movie is incredibly dynamic or hugely entertaining by hollywood standards, but it was definitely cause for reflection. When one man who has had incredible hardships can make such a difference, why aren’t more of us making one when our lives are such a dream?