Documents the anti-apartheid advocate's ten-year effort to unite his country, during which he worked with proponents of apartheid from his jail cell, won the presidency, and helped South Africa's national rugby team host the World Cup as part of a unifying campaign.
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.
- Sports + Recreation, History
- Rugby, Africa / South / South Africa
- July 28, 2009
- July 28, 2009
- John Carlin