Saturday, June 19, 2010

Playing the Enemy

I've never really thought that much of, or about Nelson Mandela. Sure, I knew he was a radical revolutionary that was jailed in South Africa for years before being released. And then he became the president of the nation that had formerly tormented him.

But, I recently watched the movie Invictus and was intrigued by how it portrayed Mandela's leadership in attempting to bring about forgiveness and unity in a horribly torn nation. The focal point of the movie is the 1995 Rugby World Cup and the South African team, the Springboks, and how Mandela used them to inspire many South Africans.

The Springboks were, to many, a symbol of Apartheid, and hated by many of the non-whites.

Wanting to know more about this, I got a hold of
the book, Playing the Enemy, by John Carlin. The movie was based on this book and many of the things that are touched on in the movie are fleshed out and explained in the book. Including Mandela's charm and attitude towards his former enemies, much of the political climate and intrigue of the time, the attitudes and reasons for them and, of course, the rugby team and World Cup.

It also talks more in depth about how the Springboks, the hated symbol of Apartheid, learned and sang the Nkosi sikelel' iAfrika, the hated anthem of the African National Congress.

For those interested in politics, history, race relations, Mandela, rugby or leadership, consider "Playing the Enemy."

And, here is the English translation of the current South African National Anthem, which includes a hybrid of Nkosi sikelel' iAfrika and Afrikaans and English verses.

Nkosi sikelel' iAfrika

God [Lord] bless Africa
Raise high Her glory
Hear our Prayers
God bless us, her children

"God we ask You to protect our nation
Intervene and end all conflicts
Protect us, protect our nation, our nation, South Africa - South Africa"

"Ringing out from our blue heavens,
From our deep seas breaking round,
Over everlasting mountains,
Where the echoing crags resound,"

"Sounds the call to come together,
And united we shall stand,
Let us live and strive for freedom
In South Afrika our land."

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