a master and a captain

Some months back, in October, I watched Invictus with my class. You might have heard of the movie; it centers around the start of Nelson Mandela’s presidency and his attempts to unite the people using sports. The national South African team in rugby was experiencing quite a bit of opposition from the non-white majority of the country that would support the opposing team instead, and Mandela (played by Morgan Freeman) found a way to connect his people on a small scale.

In the movie, the captain of the rugby team, Francois Pienaar (played by the always wonderful Matt Damon) was able to meet Mandela and hear his story. He also visited the jail Mandela was in for 18 years, located in Robben Island and got to see the tiny cell that was Mandela’s home for all those years.

The title of the film comes from a poem by William Ernest Henley which inspired  and empowered Mandela during his time in prison. He gives Pienaar the poem in the movie to give him strength to lead his team to victory. It ends with “I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul”.


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