Sunday, May 23, 2010

I am the Captain of My Soul: Invictus

Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game That Made a NationTomorrow I am meeting the South African ambassador at an event organized by IE and John Carlin also will be attending. I am trying to answer the question truthfully: whom am I more excited to meet. So far, the score for Mr Ambassador is not favorable.

I knew the poem Invictus before the book came out. It talks straight to you, makes you feel empowered, shows you a higher purpose, reveals the connections that complete the picture of the world. I liked the example from Latter Days, when Aaron talks about looking at newspaper pictures from a very close distance, with your nose touching the paper. Then it is nothing more but a constellation of dots not making any sense. However, should you look at it from a distance, it all fits into a beautiful design. That is exactly how I feel about this poem. Inspiring. Motivational. Strong.

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 bludgeonings 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.

InvictusI have to confess. Last year (I even remember the date - December 26th 2009) when I was watching the movie Invictus, I could not help shedding a tear or two. And it is not because Matt Damon trying to fake an Afrikaans accept is extremely pathetic and funny, but because the message in the film is so powerful. Forgiveness starts here. Forgiveness starts with you. Morgan Freedman says, "Wat is verby, is verby" (what's in the past, is in the past). How achievable is that in reality? You can succeed in uniting the nation in one frenzy stricken event back in 1995. What Nelson Mandela did for the country can never be duly appreciated. His personal example was the shining beacon for millions of those who were doubting, who were angry, who were afraid - all to be later united into the Rainbow Nation.

Still, the April 2010 events and the murder of Eugene Terre'Blanche proved that there is a long way to go still. Mandela's Long Walk to Freedom was in fact only the first step. The step of truly inspirational leadership. The step of courage. The step of self-sacrifice. 

Do they teach self-sacrifice in business schools these days?

1 comment:

  1. what Mandela's journey represents is one of having met the challenge that was before him at a moment in the history of our country when another choice could have taken the country down another path. Inspirational leadership like this plays out daily in small ways when we choose to follow our hearts, not only to follow the easy, comfortable path of least resistance... The question for South Africans is how we take our inspiration from that moment of choice nearly 20 years ago and build a country for our children's children... Birgitte



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