Nelson Mandela in prison at Roben Island.

I recently read about a film called Invictus (the superb Morgan Freeman, is tipped to get an Oscar for it).

The film is about Nelson Mandela, and the South African Rugby team and how he used the team as a vehicle to unite the country.

I was interested, as I had the privilege of watching a Rugby Match, in a pub whilst in South Africa.  I was struck by the cross section of people, who were made up of every race, tribe and cultural group within the country (SA has 11 national languages) and their instant connection, once the match began.

I’m looking forward to watching the film, and for those that don’t know, Invictus is the name of a Poem by William Ernest Henley, which Nelson Mandela memorized whilst imprisoned at Robben Island (I saw Nelson Mandela’s cell, and spent time in his small garden, within the prison, where he wrote A long walk to freedom ).

In these difficult times of recession and uncertain futures, I thought I would put it up here for people to read.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeoning s of chance
my head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley.

Several times while I was visiting the country, I heard Robben Island described as the place where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, with all the other ones…

For those that are interested, these are some of their names.

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