I recently saw the movie Invictus which told the story of the 1995 Rugby World Cup held in South Africa. I liked the movie so much that I wanted to find out more about this historic and pivotal time in South Africa's history so I checked out this book on which the movie was based.
I was glad I did. Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a Nation is able to delve into the people and events that led up to the South African victory that began to bring the country together in the years after apartheid was dismantled. Most notable is the author's portrayal of Nelson Mandela and his fierce desire to unite the citizens of South Africa at a time that could have brought civil war. He envisioned a South Africa united in support of the rubgy team even though traditionally the black people rooted against the team because it seemed a symbol of oppression. To change their feelings Mandela appealed to the better natures of his enemies as well as supporters who disagreed with him and was able to inspire the team to an amazing World Cup victory that did gain national support.
These are two of many touching moments:
- the South African team (all white but one player) singing the anthem of black resistance to apartheid
- Nelson Mandela wearing the jersey of the team's captain to the final match
I would highly recommend this story of how Mandela's political will enabled a country to rise above deep and painful differences and begin to heal.
Submitted by Pat @ Central