Monday, April 26, 2010


We watched the movie Invictus this weekend. [it's a story about the rugby world cup in South Africa in 1995 and how South Africa won] The movie centres on rugby but told from the perspective of the rugby team captain and also Nelson Mandela.

Nelson Mandela is one of my all time heroes. A dream I have (which will be realised in heaven) is to meet him. He is a giant among men. A man who endured 27 years of deprivation, hardship and torture in jail, separated from his family and friends and then came out of prison preaching peace and forgiveness.

The movie was incredible. Because I lived that era. I was there. I lived through the change and the fear and propaganda.

Nelson Mandela is a man who has always been part of my life. I am a child of apartheid, growing up in the thick of the struggle for freedom. As a child the state propaganda said that he was a demon, an evil killer who would wash the country in blood. I remember an incident when I was 13 years old. I had a discussion with my friends about the worst thing that could ever happen. Yup, the release of Nelson Mandela was the worst thing we could imagine. The so called evil of the "swart gevaar" [black danger] was entrenched in our thinking.

As I grew into adolescence I began to see things for how they really were. When I was 18 years old a referendum was held to vote yes/ no for change. To move towards democracy or not. One of the defining moments of my life was walking into a school hall to cast my vote. I walked past chanting placard holders from the Conservative party, warning us against voting yes. And as I cast my vote "yes for change" I was so proud. I was part of the change, part of the start of reconciliation.

Afterwards I admit that the release of Nelson Mandela was a fearful time. None of us knew how he would react as he had been hidden from the world for so long. If he had come out of jail preaching vengeance there would have been a civil war. And some would have said rightfully so. But he didn't. He preached peace.

The movie shows the struggle for forgiveness among ordinary people. People who because of the colour of their skin had been persecuted and denied basic human rights for so long. But they overcame.

I believe that God orchestrated those defining years as South Africa was reborn. An amazing book about the hand of God in the first free and democratic elections is Michael Cassidy's book, "A witness for ever". South Africa should have had a civil war by now, if African history is anything to go by. But she hasn't. God has prevailed!

I get so angry at the negativity among the South African community here. I admit that as a family we lived without a mugging, attack or murder. We are blessed in that regard. But South Africa is to be celebrated. She has emerged from oppression into the light and God has brought her through.

This is the poem that Nelson Mandela gave Francois Pienaar in preparation for the rugby world cup. It gave him strength in prison and inspires me.

Out of the night that covers me

Black as the pit from pole to pole

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced or cried aloud

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the Horror of the shade

And yet the menace of the years

Finds, and shall find me, unafraid

It matters not how strait the gate

How charged with punishments the scroll

I am the master of my fate

I am the captain of my soul

William Ernest Henley

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PaisleyJade said...

Wow - for some reason I didn't realise you were from SA. Very good to hear your opinion of the movie. I was just talking to a SA person the other day who was very racist and it just hit me how affected many people still are from what happened and the propaganda spread.

Simoney said...

I really really want to see that movie. really really. Even though we lost the World Cup (again) it was an amazing thing for SA to win it. As disappointed as we were over here, we could all see what a great thing it was for SA to win after all that had gone before. xx

Gail said...

I'm looking forward to watching the film too. I haven't read the Road to Freedom - but it's on my hit list. Nelson Mandela is a legend. I would LOVE to meet him.

I've worked with a couple of SA teachers. I found their stories both sad and scary. Very rarely did they share the "good stuff" - which I think is sad.

tea said...

I have seen a preview for this movie and I thought it looked good. I know so very little about SA and Nelson Mandela.. I'm glad to have read what you shared here.

It's funny, I've heard that poem before, but it always makes me sad.

These Three Kings said...

Wow.. girl you need to post your testimony one day!! Its sounds amazing and sooo would display Gods power and grace in your life...
Thanks for sharing.. I will have to look this movie up on Netflix :)

W1219estonMitcham said...

Hello~Nice to meet you~..................................................

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