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Confession: I didn’t know who Nelson Mandela was before I saw “Invictis”

I recently was able to sit down and watch Invictis, a film released in 2009 starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon.  It is a movie that exploits the racism that occurred in South America in the ’90s and tells the story of a part of Mr. Mandela’s presidency after his 27 year imprisonment for “sabotage” due to his movements towards anti-racism.  I was inspired by this movie and did a little more research on him, and you should too.  In short, Mr. Mandela has won numerous awards, but in 1993 won the Nobel peace prize.  In short, he seems like an extraordinary man, with an extraordinary world outlook and we’d be lucky to have an ounce of his charisma.  I always think that if I had to go back to primary school again, I’d definitely “get real” in history classes…because it’s quite embarrassing how little I now know, and frustrating how much I want to know.

This Movie quickly notched up my “top movies” list, (alongside the ’90s The Cure, and Bridge to Terabithia), and really struck a chord with me because the theme of the movie really seemed to be my mantra.  Life is what you make of it.  I don’t want to spoil any of it for any of you so I am not going to go into detail, but this poem “Invictus” is the heart of the movie, and really, is the heart of me.


William Ernest Henley. 1849–1903

7. Invictus

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 5

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, 10

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: 15

I am the captain of my soul.

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