Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Nelson Mandela’

The poem “Invictus”, written by William Ernest Henley, first came to my attention through the movie of the same name. The movie, made in 2009, is about South Africa’s attempt to win the 1995 Rugby World Cup, shortly after Nelson Mandela had become President. Rugby had always been seen as an Afrikaaner game in South Africa, so much so that the majority South African blacks would often support the opposition rather than support what they saw as a game played almost exclusively by their white racist masters.



William Ernest Henley

William Ernest Henley (1849-1903) wrote Invictus in 1875, it was published in 1888.



Mandela sees an opportunity to unite South Africa by embracing this white-dominated sport, and show his willingness to let the past be the past. In the movie, Mandela is played by Morgan Freeman, and the Springboks’ captain François Pienaar is played by Matt Damon. If you haven’t see the film, then I highly recommend it.





The poem was used by Mandela to boost his spirits during his long incarceration in prison on Robben Island, and he shares it with Pienaar in the hope of inspiring the Springboks to victory. Here is the poem in its entirety.


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 nor 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.


The best known lines in the poem are the last two lines. Recently they have cropped up in a TV commercial for the Irish stout Guinness. The commercial features a group of men in Brazzaville in the Congo who belong to “La Sape”, which stands for Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Élégantes (Society for the Advancement of Elegant People). A member of this Society is known as a “sapeur”.





Advertisements

Read Full Post »

I don’t have the eloquence to do justice to the life of a person as great as Nelson Mandela (Madiba). So I thought I’d select just a few quotes, as well as some pictures to give an essence of a person whom I know will go down in history as one of the truly great human beings. South Africa and the World are better for his life, and we are the poorer now he’s gone.
At his treason trial in 1964:

During my lifetime I have dedicated my life to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination.

I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities.

It is an ideal for which I hope to live for and to see realised. But, My Lord, if it needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.

 

At his inauguration as President in 1994:

We enter into a covenant that we shall build a society in which all South Africans, both black and white, will be able to walk tall, without any fear in their hearts, assured of their inalienable right to human dignity – a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world.

 

December 1995:

Reconciliation means working together to correct the legacy of past injustice.

 

From “Long Walk to Freedom” (1995)

Man’s goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished.

 

Again from “Long Walk to Freedom” (1995)

No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart that its opposite.

The papers of the Disunited Kingdom on the morning after Nelson Mandela’s death.

20131206-091711.jpg

Nelson Mandela’s life in pictures (from The Guardian newspaper)
safariscreensnapz024

safariscreensnapz001

safariscreensnapz002

safariscreensnapz003

safariscreensnapz005

Here is the video of Mandela’s release after 27 years in prison.

RIP Madiba. And thank you.

Read Full Post »