Invictus, the movie


200px-HumanFactorInvictus I went to see Invictus the other night with Josh and
Fred.  The movie, set in 1985, is based on Nelson Mandela during the time he was the President of South Africa.  He believed that if the Springboks (their rugby team) could win
the Rugby World Cup game which was going to be hosted in South Africa, the win would be a way to unite the country.  The movie is based on a true story.  FYI- Springbok is generally on every menu in South Africa and is the national animal of South Africa.


We traveled to South Africa during the holiday season or December 2004/January 2005.  We
decided to go there because that year was the 10th anniversary of
the end of apartheid. 

Physically, the country is beautiful. 
Cape Town is possibly one of the most breathtaking cities I have ever
been to.  Table Mountain sits
proudly in the middle of the city and the clouds roll in over the mountain every
night.  The clouds are referred to as a table cloth.  The city literally rises up
from the ocean.  We traveled
through the wine country and up the coast staying in 2 different areas and
ended our trip on a safari in the private reserve area of Sabi Sands. 


What I found incredible about South Africa was not only the
warmth of the people but how they had embraced each other so shortly after
years of hate, fear and separation. 
It was remarkable. 


We went over to Robbins Island to see where Mandela was
imprisoned.  What is astounding is that the people who live on the island, who are the guides for people like us who visit the island, walk them through the jails and speak about the
history of their country, are the same people who were not only jailed there but
their jailers.  Both people now
live side by side, eat together and share with people who visit Robbins Island,
the realities of what took place on that island. 
How they can do that, to me, is mind-boggling. 


Watching the movie brought back all those memories.  Mandela, who has proven to be a truly a remarkable
brilliant peaceful man, was genius in his leadership.  Instead of turning against the people who had turned against
him all these years, he embraced them. 
Most people, would have basically said, we are now in power and the
people who suppressed us  are now going to get theirs.  Not Mandela.  He
said, it is time for us all to come together, create a new country, get rid of
our fears and anger and unite as one. 
When we were there, the small part that we saw was that most people have
not only followed his leadership, they have embraced it. 
Johannesburg still has many issues but the people we talked to who were
visiting from other parts of the country were excited about new territory being
charted for the country.  In many ways, when we went, the country was only 10 years old. 


Unfortunately, the leadership in South Africa, has not been proven to be as strong and intelligent as Mandela but I did fall in love with the country and the
people.  There are many issues that a young country faces, certainly the history is still fresh but I can't imagine that we won't see South Africa become a leader in change in that part of the world sooner than later. 

That movie brought me
back.  It is a movie really worth
seeing.  It really gives the viewer
a tiny glimpse into how the country changed so quickly for the postive.  Uplifting to say the least.

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Comments (Archived):

  1. Rian van der Merwe

    Hi Joanne. I am a South African currently living in the US (moving back in 2010). I love reading posts like this, and am happy you enjoyed the movie. I can also say from personal experience that the moment South Africa won the world cup in 1995 was indeed a remarkable time of unity, and did more healing than anyone thought could be possible.I also agree that South Africa has significant challenges ahead. However, we are hopeful, and we are resilient. Here is a roundup of all the good news that came out of South African in 2009: you guys ever do make your way down there again, let me know — would love to catch up.

    1. Gotham Gal

      I hope to be down there again sooner than later. Thanks for the comments. Will take a look at the link you posted.joanne [email protected]

  2. TanyaMonteiro

    Fantastic to see how an event ‘totally unrelated to politics’ has been used to unite and tell a story. I remember watching the game and being overjoyed at winning, amazing how it turns out, and how that success has been used for so many other purposes. Love how it makes me think! Rian, have you seen http://www.homecomingrevolu…Joanne, Thanks, again! It’s encouragement like this that inspires so many to keep working towards a united South Africa!

    1. Rian van der Merwe

      Hi Tanya – yep, they’ve been helping me with some of my questions about moving back. We’re now 3 months away from the move and couldn’t be more excited!

      1. TanyaMonteiro

        Fantastic Rian, wishing you a joyfully smooth transition!

      2. TanyaMonteiro

        hi rian, been updating disqus and came across this comment. ive been back in SA for 4 months now and could not be happier! hope you have settled well too.

        1. TanyaMonteiro

          hi rian, I was just doing the same, updating disqus and saw this:-) LOVING being back home, been in Durban for 8 months now although in London at the moment shipping all my stuff from storage!! Special to feel a sense of belonging again. be well

  3. Natacha Sittner

    Joanne, I read your blog everyday and hope one day my blog will be as good as yours… but today in particular I am touched, almost personally, by your post. I am SA and have lived for 4 years in NJ. I will see this movie, because I am an agent of change. I stood in a voting line amongst fellow S.Africans, who were all the colors of the rainbow, which is why we are the rainbow nation. I stood for 4 hours, singing, laughing, talking and crying, because today (1990), we were changing our country’s destiny and in turn our own. 1995 was a testament to the unity of the government and the country in the short time you alluded to. Unfortunately, the road hasn’t been smooth and I, together with my family, have been victims of violence and fear, but through it all, remain forever grateful that the country took the step to abandon apartheid forever.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Your story is probably not so unique to many South Africans. We were justtalking today about how much we want to return. The link on one of thecomment below tells of all the amazing things that happened in SA during2009. An incredible amount of change in just the 5 short years that we werethere. Considering how much has taken place in a short 15 years…the bumpsin the road seem somewhat minor.Thanks so much for the comments…enjoy the holidays.

  4. kenberger

    This is timely for me. I have a flight booked to Argentina for end of month. But just got a very compelling biz oppty to pursue in South Africa (w/ a stop in Uganda too). I’ve spent time in Buenos Aires but not Africa. Deciding this week which of the 2 to hit (can’t do both). At least they both have summer now.