Soon to be a major motion picture from Academy Award(r)--winning director Clint Eastwood, starring Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman.
After being released from prison and winning South Africa's first free election, Nelson Mandela presided over a country still deeply divided by fifty years of apartheid. His plan was ambitious if not far-fetched: Use the national rugby team, the Springboks-long an embodiment of white supremacist rule-to embody and engage a new South Africa as they prepared to host the 1995 World Cup. The string of wins that followed not only defied the odds, but capped Mandela's miraculous effort to bring South Africans together in a hard-won, enduring bond.
The Sports section at every bookstore is filled with stories about athletes and teams who triumphed over unbelievable adversity, but John Carlin may have topped them all with this tale of the 1995 South African rugby team. When Nelson Mandela was freed from prison in 1994, he knew that his personal victory over oppression would not necessarily translate into an end to the apartheid which had divided his nation for decades. Mandela immediately sought an endeavor which might unite blacks and whites in a common cause, and set his sights on the 1995 World Cup of rugby, which was to be hosted by South Africa. The segregated Springboks, South Africa's national rugby team, had long been a symbol of ******, with their players and fans using racist chants and songs as their rallying cries. Mandela considered it an achievement just to get the team on the field together for the World Cup, but the Springboks, seeded ninth in the tournament, exceeded all expectations and reached the finals against a heavily favored squad from New Zealand. Carlin masterfully conjures the electric atmosphere of the final match, with 60,000 fans, including Mandela in his Springboks jersey, cheering for a victory which might help to sooth the wounds of history.
- History, Sports + Recreation
- Africa / South / South Africa, Rugby
- Penguin Group USA
- Media Tie In, Reprint
- November 18, 2009
- November 18, 2009
- John Carlin