Invictus - Summary

Invictus is a movie based on John Carlin’s book, Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation. The true events around the 1995 Rugby World Cup in post-apartheid South Africa are the basis of the story. 

On February 11, 1990, Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) is released from the Robben Island prison after 27 years in jail. On April 27, 1994, Mandela is democratically elected the first black President of South Africa. His presidency faces huge challenges in the post-apartheid era. Mandela worries about racial divisions between black and white South Africans. 

While attending a game of the Springboks, the country's rugby team, Mandela sees that the blacks in the stadium cheer against their home team, because the all-white team represents prejudice and apartheid in their minds. Before 1995, no black players are members of the Springboks team. 

Mandela meets with the captain of the Springboks, François Pienaar (Matt Damon), and states that a victory in the World Cup will unite and inspire the nation. Mandela also shares a British poem, "Invictus,” with Pienaar. It was something which inspired him during his time in prison.

In 1995, South Africa creates a slogan to unite the whole country behind the now desegregated Springboks - “One Team, One Country.” During the opening games, support for the Springboks begins to grow among the black population.

As the season goes on, the whole country comes together to support the Springboks and Mandela's efforts. The Springboks surpass all expectations and qualify for the World Cup against New Zealand’s "The All Blacks"—South Africa's arch-rivals.

Can the Springboks beat their rivals? Does the country unite behind the team? Can a sports team really change a nation?

In this story behind the movie, experience South Africa before and after apartheid. Meet the first black President of South Africa and learn about his life. Meet the rugby players who work to bring a country together.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Dec 01, 2009

Updated Last Revision: Nov 09, 2016

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"Invictus" AwesomeStories.com. Dec 01, 2009. Jan 26, 2020.
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