Invictus, unconquered

I always look for inspiration. It’s wonderful when you find it – or it finds you.

Today I found some in the movie Invictus by Clint Eastwood. It’s a film about the early times of Nelson Mandela’s presidency. The story takes place right before and during the 1995 Rugby World Cup, hosted in South Africa, but the movie is about so much more than just rugby. For me, the movie was about democracy, community and inspiration.

I may not have mentioned that the South African writer André Brink has written some of my favourite novels. His earlier books, such as An Act of Terror and A Dry White Season have left a permanent mark to my soul.

The surprising thing is I’ve not heard of Invictus before. Not the film, nor the poem that lends its name to the film. The Victorian poem, written by William Ernest Henley (1849–1903), has a special feeling to it. Particularly the last paragraph (I’m sure they’re called something else than paragraphs in poetry).

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.

Invictus translates to something along the lines of unconquered, undefeated, and invincible. What does it mean for a person like me? Being able to question myself continuously, fight numbing routines and live consciously?

I remember once writing an essay about Amazing Grace in upper secondary school. My teacher told me the text seemed superficial. I was flabbergasted, as I was only being earnest and felt strongly about the subject of the essay.

I feel the same way when thinking about Mandela in a small prison cell, reading the words of Invictus and finding inspiration in difficult times. How does one even write about it?

Easy solution? One doesn’t. I would like to, but alas, I fear my ability to fight the superficial is still too low. Just think about it for a while though. Who is the master of your fate, the captain of your soul?

♥ In the meantime: Wohoo, we have a government!

♠ Song of the day: Invictus theme song, 9000 days

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