🎥🍣 Movie Sushi — Invictus

6 min readDec 24, 2022


Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela is released from the Victor Verster Prison on Sunday, the 11th of February 1990 at about 3pm. His liberation triggers a violent power struggle between the ANC and their black rivals until Mandela makes peace. An estimated 23 million South Africans, including blacks, go to the polls that day. Nelson Mandela is sworn in.

At 4:00am, Mandela dresses for his walk. Two black bodyguards are waiting. Linga Moonsamy says there he is, like clockwork. Jason Tshabalala says it makes him an easy target. Mandela greets both men. The newspaper’s headline reads “He can win an election, but can he run a country”. Mandela calls it a legitimate question.

Mandela walks courteously through the Union Buildings hallways in Pretoria followed by his black security. He tells personal assistant, Brenda Mazibuko, to assemble all the staff.

Mandela thanks the largely white staff in Afrikaans for coming. Their language or the colour of their skin won’t disqualify them from working there. If they do their work to the best of their abilities and with good heart, Mandela will, too.

Four white Special Branch officers appear in Jason’s office. Jason thinks he’s being arrested. The man’s Captain Etienne Feyder reporting for duty with the presidential bodyguard. Feyder’s white colleague, Hendrick Booyens, confirms to Linga that they are Special Branch.

Mandela says the SAS-trained bodyguards are very experienced. Reconciliation and forgiveness start with Mandela. Forgiveness liberates the soul. It removes fear. That’s why it’s such a powerful weapon.

Jason tells Feyder Mandela doesn’t like it if you don’t smile when you push people away. Feyder asks why the blacks call Mandela “Madiba”. Jason says it’s the president’s clan name. Feyder will call him “Mr President”. Jason says the England Springboks rugby match at Loftus Versfeld stadium will be a headache. The president will be exposed to thousands of white sports fans.

Jason wants his team constantly watching the crowd. The newly-elected president is introduced. The whites in the crowd boo as Mandela wishes Francois Pienaar and his team good luck.

Mandela spots a new, South African flag and goes into the crowd to thank that white fan. Jason then mentions Mandela’s delaying the rugby. A cup lands yards away. Feyder asks if Mandela always does that sort of thing, adding it’s a good thing he didn’t see the cup. Jason says he sees everything.

Mandela tells Brenda he wants to go to America, England and Saudi Arabia for investment. He learns there’s about a year until the Rugby World Cup. The Springboks are currently regarded as a disgrace.

Mandela notices many outdated apartheid flags. All the whites are supporting the Springboks and all the blacks are supporting England. There’s strong support to drop the Springbok emblem and colours altogether.

After the beating, Pienaar’s called unprepared and arrogant. Now, there’s no ignoring the fact that South Africa is unprepared for international rugby. Pienaar tells his wife, Nerine, they want to drop him. Mandela’s also watching the Springboks’ savaging.

The National Sports Council executive proposes that, as a prominent symbol of the apartheid era, the colours, emblem and the name of the Springboks be eliminated. Everybody votes in favour.

Mandela learns of this. Brenda says black people hate the Springboks. Mandela says in this instance, the people are wrong. Brenda says he’s risking his future as their leader. Mandela says if he doesn’t, he’s no longer fit to lead.

The NSC leader introduces Mandela and everyone warmly applauds. Mandela’s there because he believes they should immediately restore the Springboks, their name, their emblem and their colours. In Pollsmoor Prison, for twenty seven years, he studied his Afrikaner jailers. Without knowledge of their culture, he couldn’t have prevailed against them.

Now the Afrikaners are partners in South Africa’s democracy. Whites treasure Springbok rugby. Removing that would further alienate them. Blacks have to surprise them with compassion, restraint and generosity, not petty revenge. The white minority still controls the police, the army and the economy. Mandela must stop the cycle of fear.

Pienaar’s invited to tea with the president. Mandela asks for Pienaar’s philosophy on leadership. Pienaar leads by example. Mandela agrees, but he finds getting his team to be better than they think they can be very difficult. On Robben Island, Mandela found inspiration in a Victorian poem.

At the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, everybody in the stadium greeted Mandela with a song. To hear that song in the voices of people from all over the planet made him proud to be South African. It was “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika”.

Mandela’s learning about the organisation of the Rugby World Cup. The finals will be broadcast live to over a billion people around the world. Mandela immediately understands the scale of the opportunity.

The Springboks are told to conduct coaching clinics in different South African townships. Pienaar says they’ve become more than just a rugby team. Times change and the team must change as well.

They arrive at a township. Team morale is initially low. Then, children flock to the sole black player, Chester Williams. They cheer and chant his name. After encouragement, Chester asks who wants to play rugby, and punts a ball into the air. The children soon are really enjoying it. A sign reads “One Team, One Country”.

The TV announcer says soccer’s usually their favourite sport in a township. But things changed when a group of local children really took to the Springboks in a surprise visit by Francois Pienaar and his team.

Mandela asks forgiveness for interrupting the team’s work the day before an important match. But, he wanted to wish them good luck in person. Pienaar starts introducing the players, but, having tested himself earlier with Brenda, Mandela knows all their names. He then learns Chester’s sadly injured his hamstring. Mandela gives Pienaar the poem Invictus.

The Springboks are lead onto a boat and taken to Robben Island. Pienaar goes inside what was the president’s cell and goes to the barred windows. He imagines watching Mandela breaking rocks in the hot sun, the fortifying words of Invictus resounding in his head.

Present day Mandela collapses with exhaustion. He’s told complete rest. No phone calls, no visitors, no meetings, no politics. Brenda says she’ll threaten him with hospital only if he doesn’t behave. Mary will cancel everything.

Chester fully recovers and even scores a try. South Africa going on to beat Western Samoa 42, 14. Mary tells Mandela the All Blacks play England the next day, then they’ll know who South Africa play.

The All Blacks’ fearsome Jonah Lomu weighs 120kg and is fast. Pienaar says Lomu looks for contact every time he gets the ball. Pienaar will break his arm, his leg, his neck, but he will not let that guy go. All the other Springboks feel the same way.

New Zealand beat most sides they play including Japan, who they beat 145 to 17. The All Blacks beat Scotland 48 to 30 in the quarter finals. If the opposing team played them straight up, Jonah Lomu runs wild. If they focus on Lomu, that leaves others free. Half the All Black matches are won before the first whistle because of the haka war dance, they’re favoured 2 to 1.

Jason spots a low-flying plane headed for the stadium without official clearance. Mandela’s in the VIP box. Jason tells Linga to get him out of there immediately. Linga says there’s no time. The plane flies very low over the stadium making glasses vibrate. Painted underneath the plane are the words Good Luck Bokke.

Mandela, wearing the captain’s number six jersey, is welcomed onto the pitch. There’s an unprecedented number of flags out. The crowd cheers “Nelson”. Townships and affluent areas alike are gathered around TVs to watch.

With New Zealand briefly winning, Pienaar gathers his team and asks if they can hear their country singing. With seven minutes to play, this is their destiny. South Africans watching are on the edge of their seats.

Stransky has another successful kick for the Boks. Then, Lomu’s finally brought down. A drop goal means South Africa takes the lead, 15 to 12. Then, the ref blows the final whistle. South African fans are over the moon, cheering, smiling, hugging and jumping about.

Mandela shakes hands with his New Zealand counterpart. Jason and Feyder smile and shake hands. Pienaar’s hoisted onto the shoulders of his teammates as he applauds the crowds. Mandela removes his hat, acknowledging the cheering.

De Villiers interviews Pienaar and mentions the sixty three thousand South Africans there to watch. Pienaar says they had the support of forty three million South Africans. Mandela gives Pienaar the World Cup trophy which he holds aloft.

People of all races flood onto the streets, gridlocked with happy South Africans. Mandela doesn’t matter that his car’s trapped, there’s no hurry. He is the master of his fate. He is the captain of his soul.

Starring Morgan Freeman. Matt Damon. Tony Kgoroge. Rated 12A. Dir Clint Eastwood. Released in the UK 2009. Runtime 2hrs 14mins




Ad teaches & gives speeches on his MH struggle + recovery at institutions right across the world. (Movie Sushi pieces contain spoilers)