Mandela's Great Accomplishment

In this clip, narrated by Morgan Freeman, we see historical footage depicting tensions between black and white South Africans.  The video demonstrates why "One Team, One Country" initially seemed like an unrealistic dream.  The clip also provides background regarding the 1995 Rugby World Cup. 

Believing that a sporting event could unite a country may, on its face, seem like a natural occurrence. But that assumes everyone is “rooting for” the same team.

Such was not the case in the South Africa of 1995. Rugby was a sport favored by South-African whites and disfavored by South-African blacks.

How, exactly, did Mandela think that such a situation could result in nationwide support for a nearly all-white South African team?

One answer, to that question, is Mandela’s personal support of the South-African team. If the President supported “One Team, One Country,” perhaps he could influence others to support the Springboks, too.

We learn more about Madiba’s efforts, behind the scenes, from Sport, Cultures, and Identities in South Africa:

Mandela met with leading rugby officials and players before the RWC [World Rugby Cup] and pledged full support for the national team and the event, with the concession that the Springbok team to play in the tournament would be the last nearly all-white rugby team to represent the country in a World Cup.

Mandela's support allowed the RWC to be marketed across all areas of South African society and the Springboks to be transformed in the One Team, One Country slogan... (Sport, Cultures, and Identities in South Africa, by John Nauright, at page 177).

Move the video to 3:44 for an interview with Mandela's chief bodyguard, Linga Moonsamy. 

To see Mandela take the field at Ellis Park, after the Springboks' victory, move the clip forward to 6:24.  The President had visited the team just before the match, helping to calm their pre-game nerves.

For an interview with Francois Pienaar, in which he describes his exchange with Mandela during the trophy presentation, move the video to 7:47.

As the interviews and footage indicate, unifying South Africa through an improbable rugby victory was a vision almost no one could have believed in (when Mandela first thought it possible), but it was a result the entire country embraced (when it actually happened).


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

Original Release: Dec 23, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Jun 02, 2016

Media Credits

Clip from a documentary on Mandela and his vision of what was possible if South Africa won the 1995 Rugby World Cup.


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"Mandela's Great Accomplishment" AwesomeStories.com. Dec 23, 2013. Jan 25, 2020.
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