Invictus – A story of a rainbow nation – VIVA South Africa! VIVA Nelson Mandela!


As a product of the “apartheid” era in South Africa, now living in East Africa amongs the local black people, I feel compelled to share a bit about my feelings when I happened to switch the television on this morning and it was tuned on the station broadcasting the movie “Invictus”,  starring Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman, and directed by Clint Eastwood.  And yes, the header is me, with the legendary Francois Pienaar.

My mother worked as stock controller at the O.K. Bazaars in my birthtown of Worcester, Western Cape, and I was always hanging around her at the office on Saturday mornings.  So, as from age 12 I found myself working alongside the coloured folk who packed shelves, did stock taking and generally serving customers.  A lovely source of pocket-money for me, a risk of them being found out for hiring such a young girl, and a good platform to start interacting with people from all colours of the rainbow – black, coloured (Cape Coloureds), white, Chinese etc.  Other than our domestic worker who was from the “Bushmen” or “San” tribe, I had little to do with people of another colour prior to this, as the “apartheid” regime dictated separate schools for whites and blacks.

I soon started to question the regime, as I could not understand why they should be treated differently to me – from drinking coffee in the coffee shop to going to church, from separate public toilets to separate beaches on the occasions that we traversed Du Toit’s Kloof Pass to go visit my cousins in Cape Town.  My mother used to remind me in later years that I would always insist on taking some warm clothes, blankets and food to any black street sleeper when I was younger, which could not have been often, as I can still remember the period when they had to carry a pass, called the “dom pass”, literally meaning a “dumb pass”, and if they were caught without it, they would be jailed.  This was also expanded to prohibit blacks from being out on the streets in town after a curfew hour, I think it was 6 pm, during tense periods of riots etc.  See “Pass Laws” in “Wikipedia”.

Anyway, I have always had friends of any colour or creed, and when I switched on the telly this morning, and the movie “Invictus”, which I have not seen before, was nearing its end, I decided to sit and eat my breakfast for the last few minutes.  Well, I could hardly swallow my food, and tears were streaming down my face!!  Matt Damon as Francois Pienaar, and Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela, played their roles well, and even when the big Boeing flew past with “Good luck Bokke” written on its underbelly, I choked up!!  Which South African can ever forget that wonderful day in our history.

I quote from Wikipedia:

The 1995 Rugby World Cup Final, was the final match in the 1995 Rugby World Cup, played in South Africa.

Ellis Park Stadium

Ellis Park Stadium (Photo credit: Charles Heiman – iMedi8 Photographic)

The match was played at Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg on 24 June 1995 between the host nation, the South African Springboks, and the New Zealand All Blacks. Unusually, each team featured a single scorer with Andrew Mehrtens of New Zealand scoring all 12 of the All Blacks points (3 penalties and 1 drop goal) and Joel Stransky tallying all 15 points (3 penalties and 2 drop goals) for The Springboks, including his famous dramatic drop goal in extra time that sealed the victory.

South Africa won the encounter by 3 points in the first Rugby World Cup Final requiring extra time, and with it, their first Webb Ellis Cup. They would go on to collect a second, in 2007, with one holdover from 1995, loosehead prop Os du Randt.

Following South Africa’s victory, Nelson Mandela, the President of South Africa, wearing a Springbok rugby shirt and cap, presented the Webb Ellis Cup to the South African captain François Pienaar. Mandela and Pienaar’s involvement in the World Cup is the subject of the 2009 film Invictus

The jubilation of the South African Nation as a whole, while P J Powers belted out the song: World in Union, together with Lady Smith Black Mambazo, was seen and felt like waves across the entire South Africa!!

English: South Africa Rugby World Cup 2007 Win...

English: South Africa Rugby World Cup 2007 Winners in Parade in South Africa on a bus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We felt united, a rainbow nation, with Nelson Mandela in his No 6 jersey our leader!  I was partying up a storm with friends in a local pub, and so was the entire nation wherever they found themselves.  Were you part of the crowd?  Can you remember the pride swelling and engulfing us?  Can we all strive to feel that unity again?

We had some reoccurrence of that pride when we won further world cups and  hosted the 2010 Soccer World Cup, and we salute you Nelson Mandela to have given us, the people of South Africa, the opportunity to leave history behind us and concentrate on the here and now.

I leave you with the words of the song :

World in Union

There’s a dream, I feel So rare,so real All the world in union The world as one

Gathering together One mind, one heart Every creed, every colour Once joined, never apart

Searching for the best in me I will find what I can be If I win, lose or draw It’s a victory for all

It’s the world in union The world as one As we climb to reach our destiny A new age has begun

We may face high mountains Must cross rough seas We must take our place in history And live with dignity

Just to be the best I can That’s the goal for every man If I win, lose or draw It’s a victory for all

It’s the world in union The world as one As we climb to reach our destiny A new age has begun

It’s the world The world in union A new age has begun

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

From a proud South African this morning, take care wherever you are!

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About suletta

Fell in love again at age 50! And followed my man to Zanzibar, for him to set up a dairy farm. I managed to travel into Africa a few times in my life, always loving it and experience the "fever" that grips you on African soil - the one that especially the Europeans now and in years gone by, suffer from. Except I am an African by birth - a South African. A Mzungu.So I discovered at this late stage in my life (not that I feel old!) that some people find my babblings about life interesting, and I quote: "live their lives vicariously through me".
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2 Responses to Invictus – A story of a rainbow nation – VIVA South Africa! VIVA Nelson Mandela!

  1. Aneesa & Faraaz says:

    Invictus makes me feel so homesick and patriotic! I cry and cry!

  2. Pingback: Springboks vs All Blacks – as watched by ex-pats in Dar!! | suletta

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