Questions 1 and 2
The movie is shot at a time when South Africa is post- Apartheid and racial civil war is imminent. The black citizens of the nation demand retribution against the whites for oppressing them while the whites are afraid of retribution and are ready to do anything to protect themselves. In the midst of this division, Mandela becomes the man in the middle when he tries to desperately cool the rage of the oppressed black people while shutting down the fears of the white people who once put him in prison and earn their trust. He begins by retaining office employees and bodyguards that served in the previous administration. He also attends a rugby game once and sees the chance of uniting the country through the team that was once divided. On one scene, Mandela decides to not do according to the people's wishes who voted to do away with the Springboks team ( an all-white team) as a form of payback for Apartheid. He says that the people are wrong for wanting the team disbanded and this demonstrates his ability to persuade people and make them practice justice. On another scene, Mandela is seen encouraging one of his bodyguards, who is black, to forgive his white colleagues. He tells the bodyguard that forgiveness liberates the soul. Also, when Mandela forgives the people who imprisoned him for nearly 30 years, he encourages the people of South Africa to do what they think they are incapable of doing. Leadership further requires that a person understand the nature of human beings. One of Mandela's employees accuses him of Nelson Mandelaplaying to base political calculations in supporting the rugby team. Mandela responds by saying it is a human calculation. He has the trust that people are capable of changing and seeks to make it his mission to necessitate the change by replacing hate with love. On one scene in the movie, captain Francois Pienaar of the Springboks rugby team gets invited to Mandela's office for tea. Mandela asks the captain what his philosophy of leadership is to which he replies that he likes to lead by example.
The essence of leadership according to Nelson Mandela as played by Morgan Freeman is for someone to allow themselves to expect more of oneself and to inspire people to not only strive to be their best but also to become a lot better than they ever thought possible. He believed in making people believe in themselves enough to believe that they can bring about change from an individual level and did not have to wait for leaders to do the unifying job for them. Also, he urged people that there was no limit to being great even becoming even greater than what one would imagine was possible. Everyone can be great and bring about change in whatever capacity they serve. Nelson Mandela believed that to inspire people, it was wise to use other people's work. That way, people would be able to become better than they thought they could be.
According to the character of President Nelson Mandela as played by Morgan Freeman, the president is seen as a sociable leader as he makes sure to attend all rugby tournaments. He is seen to have a magnetic personality that draws people to him naturally. He greets everyone with a big smile and does not discriminate against people on whatever grounds. Also, Nelson Mandela is respectful and appreciative. When Francois Pienaar visits him at his office, he is surprised by how warm Mandela is. How he addresses his staff, he knows them by their names and even asks after their families' wellbeing. Pienaar watches in admiration as Mandela introduces the lady who has brought in the tea and even goes ahead to chat with her. Mandela is also seen as a leader who motivates. In one scene, he challenges the captain of the rugby team to have a positive mindset about winning the tournament even though the odds are against them. Nelson Mandela's humility as a leader is demonstrated when he quietly memorizes the names of every member of the rugby team so he can give all of them a personal greeting.
A good leader knows how to listen. When Francois gets challenged by Nelson Mandela to believe that it is possible for the rugby team to emerge victorious in their upcoming tournament, he takes up the challenge and trains his team harder than before. Francois is also a respectful person which makes him a good leader. He acknowledges that although he is the rugby team captain, he has to honor the president's request to talk over a cup of tea. He is also team-focused. He helps the team to perform by training them hard and inspiring them with silence and song and motivating them to be aggressive on the field.
Mandela was in prison for 27 years during which period he faced a lot of challenges. His stay at the prison was characterized by the treatment that was demeaning and deplorable. For example, he was humiliated by being given shorts to wear instead of full-length pants. He was also not allowed to wear sunglasses meant to protect his eyes when he was forced to work at a limestone quarry. As a result, his vision got damaged from being exposed to the reflections from the rocks. The dust in the quarry also damaged his tear ducts rendering him unable to cry until he underwent corrective surgery later in his life. The highlight of his misery; however, was when he lost both his mother and first child and was not allowed to attend their funerals. In spite of the tribulations he faced, Mandela found solace in reciting his poem, "Invictus." Reciting the poem was his favorite way of keeping hope alive. It renewed his strength and courage. When he felt like giving up, he would recite it, and it would give him what he needed to press on. Invictus is a poem whose focus is on the spirit of human beings and how this spirit can overcome adversity. The poem is a cry for people who find themselves in trying and dark situations and have to put up a fight for the sake of their lives. It is passionate and defiant, and many use it to drum up courage and lighten up their dark situations when nothing else seems to work. To South Africans, Invictus means that there is hope. That even though the country is divided along racial lines and is facing economic problems such as unemployment and poor infrastructure, all is not lost for South Africa. It can still become a great nation and that someday, everyone in the country will live in peace and harmony. As Nelson Mandela tried to unify South Africans when the country was facing hard times, it is important for any leader to do the same for their followers when hit with rough times. The reason being that during hard times, people become very vulnerable and they need support which they can only get from the people around them.
The performance of a team can affect the larger institution because a team is a representation of the larger institution. In the case of South Africa, the national rugby team played a key role in uniting the country. Before the start of Nelson Mandela's reign as president, the team only got support from the white South Africans. Black South Africans supported rival teams because, in their minds, the Springboks was a representation of Apartheid. When Nelson Mandela saw the team as a way to unite South Africans, he urged blacks to support the team. When they did, the team players started to socialize with the fans, and their performance improved. As their performance improved, more and more black people supported the team, and it helped to bring people together.
Invictus is a good movie, both entertaining and educative. It highlights the ways a person in any leadership position can become better in their endeavor. Through the main characters, Nelson Mandela and Francois Pienaar who are played by Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon respectively, good leadership traits are brought out. The leadership traits include humility, the ability to inspire and motivate others, being visionary, being sociable, among others. It also serves to encourage leaders to not give up in any endeavors and that they should be keen enough to notice opportunities and situations that have the potential to bring people together.
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