Friday, December 11, 2009


Latin for "unconquered" and named after a poem, Invictus is a great movie. Invictus is about the human struggles faced by Nelson Mandela while President and how he used the national rugby team and its success as a symbol to unite the nation.

Watching the movie got me curious about the poem that inspired Mandela through some of his darkest days. It's a remarkable poem of defiance, empowerment and struggle:

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.

William Ernest Henley
If you have several hours this weekend (it's a bit of a long movie) I'd highly recommend seeing Invictus. Whether by design or because of what came naturally, Mandela was a political genius in understanding how to communicate ideas and values through symbols. For those who aspire to be great leaders and for those who need just a bit of inspiration over the Christmas holidays, there's much to glean from this movie.

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