Sunday, March 27, 2011

Invictus - a story about the tallest man in Africa

I watched “Invictus” today – an amazing movie about how Nelson Mandela united the people of South Africa and saved the country soon after the dismantling of apartheid in 1995. Reminded me of my visit to South Africa a couple of years ago.

I visited South Africa in 2008. During my visit, I was quite surprised to find, South Africa as an amazing mix of not only the local Afrikaans and migrant British in their Nth generation (who had made South Africa their home), but a very large number of Indian, Chinese, Europeans, and everyone else (all living amicably!), making an extra-ordinary melting pot of different cultures and races that beats our own Nehruvian claim of ‘unity in diversity’ hands down. The city had plush roads, modern cars, industry was booming and the country resembled no different than any other developed ((and developing (!) at the same time!) destination.  I also learnt quite a few things about Madiba (as Mandela is popularly known in that country) and developed tremendous respect for him. To really understand Mandela’s contribution to South Africa, one need to see no further than the neighbouring Zimbabwe, where Robert Mugabe & his cronies confiscated all the land and businesses from the Whites, drove them out and very soon, the country went to dogs like no other nation has been.

Back to Invictus (which means ‘undefeated’, in Latin) – the movie starts with the question – “he can win an election, but can he run the country?” and uses the backdrop of the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa to show how Mandela unites a highly divided and circumspect population to rally behind the country’s Rugby team and inspire them to glory. The rest is history.

An inspiring movie for all those who think of themselves as leaders, or aspire to be one. 

The tallest man in Africa

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