INVICTUS IDOLATRY, a Film Review by Peter Hammond, South Africa.



Peter Hammond Film Review, South Africa

THIS stirring new film on South Africa’s 1995 Rugby World Cup victory includes serious distortions of history. Directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Morgan Freeman as President Nelson Mandela, Invictus makes a major contribution towards the building up of the mythology of Nelson Mandela as a modern day idol.
Invictus focuses on the New South Africa’s finest hour as the Springbok rugby team, led by Francois Pienaar, won the World Cup. It also focuses on President Nelson Mandela’s finest hour as he donned the Springbok rugby team’s green and gold jersey and cap and publicly associated with the Springbok’s triumph.
There is no doubt that this was probably Nelson Mandela’s most astute move to appear in public at the World Cup Finals in the Springbok uniform jersey and cap. One billion people were watching. This was, as Morgan Freeman playing Nelson Mandela in the film declared: “An opportunity!” Indeed any wise politician would seize the limelight and exploit such an opportunity to identify with his national team’s greatest moment of triumph.
In the context of the racially polarized New South Africa, this gesture was meaningful and it was appreciated. It particularly won Nelson Mandela much admiration and support from white South Africans to whom rugby was much more than their national sport. However, it was a political token amidst a much broader context of Marxist violence.
This beautifully crafted, stirring and inspiring film, Invictus, clearly has a political agenda. It has dangerous distortions of reality and a selective focus which portrays the whites in South Africa as narrow minded, disgruntled, racial bigots. In fact, all the white characters in Invictus are one or two dimensional, with no depth of character. Incredibly this even includes Matt Damon’s portrayal of Francois Pienaar, the South African rugby team captain. One never gets to see quite what makes
him tick. His leadership seems completely inadequate to explain this spectacular triumph of the Springboks over the previously unbeatable Australian and New Zealand rugby teams.

Incredibly, Invictus boldly gives all the credit for the Springboks’ World Cup victory to President Nelson Mandela. This must be the first time in history that any head of state has been given the credit for a sport team’s achievements on the field. Does Queen Elizabeth II get the credit if England’s rugby team wins? Was US President Bush credited with American Olympic athlete’s achievements in Beijing?
It was undoubtedly a very wise and astute political move for Nelson Mandela to oppose his own party’s plans to abolish the Springbok green and gold uniform and symbols. Doubtless Nelson Mandela genuinely wanted the national team to win, not only for the desirable national unity it could inspire, but for the international prestige it could give to his government.
However, the film maker should not have oversimplified the fascinating story by separating it from its real context of crime and violence after a brutal 30 year terrorist war waged by Nelson Mandela’s ANC.

Time and again the film focuses on Mandela’s imprisonment on Robben Island, often with dream-like imaginative flashbacks of Nelson Mandela breaking rocks on Robben Island. The film even includes a pilgrimage to Mandela’s cell in the prison on Robben Island, but there is never any mention of why he was imprisoned.
The impression given is that he was imprisoned for opposing apartheid, but many people, including Bishop Desmond Tutu, vigorously opposed apartheid without
ever being imprisoned.

The fact is that even Amnesty International refused to take on Nelson Mandela’s case because they asserted that he was no political prisoner but had committed
numerous violent crimes and had had a fair trial and a reasonable sentence.

Nelson Mandela was the head of UmKhonto we Sizwe, (MK), the terrorist wing of the ANC and South African Communist Party. He had pleaded guilty to 156
acts of public violence including mobilizing terrorist bombing campaigns, which planted bombs in public places, including the Johannesburg railway station. Many innocent people, including women and children, were killed by Nelson Mandela’s MK terrorists.
South African President P.W. Botha had, on a number of occasions, offered Nelson Mandela freedom from prison, if he would only renounce terrorist violence. This Mandela refused to do.
In Invictus Mandela’s 26 years in jail, custody and prison becomes 30 years in the cell in Robben Island even though prisoners on Robben Island were allowed
to walk freely around the Island during the day and were only locked up at night. No mention was made of the very comfortable warden’s house at Victor Verster (five star) prison where Mandela spent his last years of confinement.

Invictus regularly portrays Nelson Mandela as a most gracious, kind and forgiving man. Many most c:ommendable words are put in his mouth including “the past is past. We need your services. We can only succeed with your help … reconciliation starts here …. forgiveness liberates the soul. .. .forgiveness is a powerful weapon.”
Under Clint Eastwood’s directorship, Invictus dogmatically asserts that Nelson Mandela and the black people needed to forgive the whites. Never does the film portray how much the whites had to forgive people like Nelson Mandela and his ANC terrorists who were responsible for the murder of thousands of South
Africans. There is no mention in Invictus of the three decades of vicious terrorist warfare, including the burning down of thousands of schools, hacking to death
of thousands of innocent people in homes and in the streets, pouring gasoline over a thousand innocent victims setting them alight, in the brutal necklace murders, the car bombs in public streets, limpet mines in Shopping centres, petrol bombs and grenades through windows at night and assassinations.
Nor were economic sanctions referred to – which cost millions of jobs; and the sports boycott which had prevented the Springboks from competing internationally for decades.
At one point in the film, Morgan Freeman’s Mandela character reminds his secretary: “The whites still control the army, the police and the economy.” That was correct, which gives the lie to the picture portrayed in Invictus of grudging, unwilling, narrow minded white racist bigots.
The fact is that white South Africans, who had the political, military and economic power and who had defeated Mandela’s ANC terrorists consistently, willingly
handed over the reigns of power after a negotiated settlement.


Invictus never mentions Nelson Mandela’s open support for brutal communist regimes such as Fidel Castro’s Cuba, Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, Red China,
Gadhaffi’s Libya, Saddam Hussein, Yasar Arafat and other dictators. During the very time covered by Invictus Mandela received Fidel Castro, the longest reigning
dictator in the world, and gave him the highest award that South Africa could give and then had both Houses of Parliament gather to hear an address from the Cuban tyrant.
During the very time covered by the movie many hundreds of white farmers, and their wives and children, were being brutally murdered, actually tortured to death, often by UmKhonto we Sizwe guerillas, many of whom were now part of the South African National Defence Force.

Although Invictus gives all glory for the Springbok Rugby World Cup win to Nelson Mandela, it does not attach any blame to him for the rising crime and
plummeting economy. During one short visual in the film Mandela looks at a newspaper headline which speaks of the rising crime and plummeting rand. This reality deserved a little bit more attention. During 46 years of National Party apartheid rule over 18,000 people had been killed by rioters, terrorists, by the police and the army, on all sides, including terrorists, civilian victims, military casualties and police. A total of 18,000 dead during 46 years of conflict. However, in peacetime, under Nelson Mandela, an average of 20,000 to 25,000 people were murdered every year.
Yet to celebrate his birthdays, Mandela would regularly open the prison doors and set many criminals, including armed robbers, murderers and rapists, free. Some of whom were murdering and raping within 24 hours of being released.
In the 1970s, even while facing terrorism, riots and engaged in a border war with the Cubans in Angola, the South African Rand was stronger than the US Dollar.
However, after years of US sanctions, the South African Rand had fallen to R2 to the Dollar. Under Nelson Mandela even with no war, no sanctions, no riots, no
conscription, and with massive international aid and investment, the Rand plummeted to R8 to the Dollar, and even R10 to the Dollar, then R12 and even to R14 to
the Dollar for a time. But according to Invictus, no blame can be attached to Nelson Mandela for the economic deterioration and the sky-rocketing crime rate under his presidency. However, he should be given all the credit for what the Springbok rugby team achieved on the field!
Viewers of Invictus also need to be aware that the kind and thoughtful gentleman portrayed in Invictus was the prime mover of the legalisation of abortion, pornography, gambling and homosexuality in South Africa and of the introduction of sex education in public schools. Since Nelson Mandela forced through the
legalisation of abortion, not even allowing ANC MPs a conscience vote, and signed it into Law, 1 February 1997, over 900,000 South African babies have been
killed through abortion, officially, legally and with taxpayers money.
Another disturbing aspect of Invictus is the editing out of the Christian Faith of key members of the Springbok rugby team. There were many consistent reports of a core of the Springbok rugby team being Bible-believing Christians who regularly met for prayer before the matches.
Yet that is never depicted. The film does give a very anaemic presentation of the Springbok team kneeling in prayer after their victory, but it is such a lame and limp “Thanks Lord for letting us win the game” that it just doesn’t ring true.
As Francois Pienaar declared in his BBC Sport interview in 1995: When the final whistle went “I fell right to my knees. I’m a Christian and wanted to say a quick prayer for being in such a wonderful event, not because of the winning. Then all of a sudden, the whole team was around me, which was a special moment.”
Despite Francois Pienaar’s testimony, Invictus incredibly portrays him as fornicating before the winning match and swearing during it. And although the Springbok rugby team gave all glory to the Lord Jesus Christ for their triumph, Clint Eastwood’s production of Invictus transfers that glory to Nelson Mandela and a humanist poem by English poet William Ernest Henley, which he quotes:
“I thank whatever gods may be for my unconquerable soul. .. I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.”
It is the title of that poem, Invictus, after which the film is named.
Francois Pienaar also pointed out in his 1995 interview with BBC Sport that the game favourites for the World Cup Rugby had been Australia, whom the Springboks beat in the opening game. This landmark victory is down played in Invictus.
It is unfortunate that Invictus reinforces stereotypes of narrow minded, white racists and whitewashes Nelson Mandela and the Marxists in the ANC. South Africa is far more complex and interesting than this film suggests. To understand South African history we need to understand the African context and the reality of the Cold War, which was the backdrop to the conflict in which Nelson Mandela played such a key role.
It would be interesting to know from where the funding came for this film. At times it seemed like a paid political advertisement for Nelson Mandela and the ANC. If all that the film depicts of Nelson Mandela encouraging the team is really true, then it is commendable. But surely any sport team’s victory is to the credit of the Manager, the Coach and the team members’ dedication, training, fitness and skill?
For more background information see: The Battle For South Africa; The Battle For the Mind in the News Media; True and False Guilt; The Cold War and The Iron Curtain; The Paganisation of South Africa; and Over a Million Reasons Why I Will


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  • miklos halasz

    lots of crap in this articel painting black the whole oposition of apartheid regim could see on tv how the goverments a

  • Bélier Galeux

    Nonsense, what Mr. Putin told on The Red Square to day about Crimea.
    This is just of same valeur – rubbish. But many US-people are fulfilled with joy by this kind of propaganda. If they are republicans of course. Halelulia for the land of huge amounts of pore people – big guns – shooting in the schools for their own children (and they think, that more guns will help that! – true! – they think!)

  • Stan Dinsmore

    This article is a joke, a real joke. Falsehoods, lying and Nonsense.

    • martinhoran

      Okay. You’ve said so. So you must be right. I think not!
      Go and learn the difference between facts and instances, facts and evidence, facts and selected facts and facts and actual proof–as you obviously haven’t learnt these things so far. Otherwise you would not have made such a childish comment without backing up your accusations. Obviously you are the kind of person who only allows facts into your mind which already fit into what you already have made up your mind to believe.
      All the data in the article is checkable. Why don’t you do the adult thing and check the data before you make stupid and ridiculous accusations. There are plenty of facts on Mandela that expose his dark side. You sound like a politician.
      People who had attidudes like yours followed Hitler, Mussolini, Lenin, Idi Amin, Hamas and their like. They weren’t interested in looking at facts and discerning them through logic. They problably didn’t have the ability to do so and it seems you don’t have either, and that’s why this world is in the mess it is.

      • Stan Dinsmore

        The article has mostly falsehoods in it, I just didn’t elaborate. The biggest ones are Mandela’s spreading of Pornography. Everyone, knows who spreads Porn around on a world-wide basis; American Film Industry. As for Cuba’s Brutal dictator , Mandela didn’t receive Castro. Castro received Him in Havana. Having been to Cuba myself, it has the highest Social/economic scale for it’s people in Caribbean/ Central American region. Lowest rates of Crime; friendly people; great vacation spot. Cuba had 3 million Tourist visits last year, 1 million of them Canadians. Every Tourist I have talked with are almost Unanimous in their approval of Socialist Gov’t in Cuba. You seem to think that the story HAS logic + Fact; but the logic + facts are geared to the majority of the readers on this website; It is a Politically biased story.

        • Collin

          Correction Stan – Mandela invited Castro and he visited South Africa in September 1998. His speech at the National Assembly in Cape Town was also televised. And, this article is correct in all aspects – Mandela was a criminal.It is a pity that people are blind to the truth about SA – I know, I am a South African.

  • Pale Rider

    Poor old Clint Eastwood, once my childhood/young adult hero — now just another decrepit old socialist, attempting to rewrite history through more Hollywood falsehood.
    Thanks Joe, for exposing this garbage film for all truth-seekers to see and understand; it’s not so much what was stated in the film that was untrue that matters so much, it’s what was not stated that was true that makes all the difference!

    • Virginia Ridgerunner

      Pale Rider, I agree with all your post, always truthful and to the point!!!

    • Delphicorc

      What a pathetic article. It does nothing but rehash the standard garbage complaints against Mandela. History should not doubt that he was once a communist and terrorist but it is in his courageous decision to rebuke his past and seek reconciliation with his enemies on the very threshold of his victory that separates him from the venal nature of most men and particuliarly politicians. Interestingly the article doesn’t pick up on his disastrous family circumstances which might be the only valid grounds to vilify the man. I have seen the movie twice and to suggest that it attributes the success of team exclusively to Mandela is worse than ridiculous. The message is perhaps too nuanced for this biased journalist but by crediting Mandela for his open minded support and encouragement of the team the movie in no way diminishes the sporting accomplishments of the team which was theirs and theirs alone. The inspirational message of the movie was how Mandela managed to leverage the success of the Springboks in such a way as to transform it into a victory for the racial unity of the entire country. In this latter respect the success was most properly attributed to Mandela and any conclusion to the contrary can only be considered peevish and small minded.

      • martinhoran

        In other words, anyone who can deliver facts without selecting them is, in your mind, small-minded.

  • r.h.o

    I think Washington is featured as an ascended type figure in the capitol and a parallel universe in the southern hemisphere is unfolding in our own time.

  • Liberalism is Nonsense

    Political economy and economics attempt to explain how free people spontaneously gather, process, and apply vastly more knowledge than any particular person or group could ever hope to possess or control.

  • Paddy Larkin

    Where would you Americans be today without your violent, traitorous terrorist George Washington, Joe? Or is he ok because he was a slave owning white dude, fighting over being taxed, instead of fighting for the vote? Stick to plumbing, leave the politics, and history, alone. Tell the rest of the chimps in the tea-party that people in glass houses…

    • martinhoran

      George Washington was of English stock. He only did what the English have always been good at: “Hm, nice country. Yes. Fine. We’ll take it.” They started with their immediate neighbours first and didn’t look back–after impoverishing most of their own folk first. I guess you mean he was traitorous because he merely copied doing what the English had been doing for centuries. Maybe he was trying to keep the tradition going.
      When the American Jack London arrived in Londo,n he was appalled and disgusted by how the English upper and middle classes, treated their poor–so what chance did the Irish, Welsh and us Scots have?
      My English wife and I have lived in the US and I have lived in various places in various parts of Britain. And though I’ve met great folk in all parts of the British IsIes have to say, America is better. That’s why so many Brits are jealous of the Yanks.

    • Don & Cristina Smith

      As our country goes to pieces under democrap control you badmouth George Washington.
      Your despicable!