Invictus Essay Questions

  1. 1

    Why does Mandela ask for Francois' help?

    Mandela is the first black President of South Africa, elected only four years after getting imprisoned during the apartheid. He is seeking to unite, for the first time, the black and white people of the country, and sees rugby as a way to rally people of different beliefs around a common objective. He asks for Francois' help in uniting the country, by suggesting to Francois that he has an opportunity to make the Springboks rugby team better. The ascension of the Springboks team is symbolic of the political unification of South Africa.

  2. 2

    Why does Mandela ask for Jason to work with the new security men assigned to him?

    When Mandela retains the white bodyguards who worked for the previous president, Jason is confused and upset. He doesn't trust white men who worked for the government during apartheid and expresses his reservations to Mandela. Mandela tells him that he must forgive those with whom he does not agree, urging Jason to realize that forgiveness is the most powerful weapon a man has.

  3. 3

    Why is Mandela estranged from his family?

    While the specifics of his estrangement remain unclear, we get a glimpse into Mandela's dynamic with his family members when he is visited by his daughter. She has reservations about the fact that Mandela is so willing to work with Afrikaners and promote a legacy of peace and forgiveness. After all the family has been through, she thinks that her father should have a more mercenary outlook and approach.

  4. 4

    What is the significance of the final image of the film?

    The final image of the film—Mandela sitting in the car that is being surrounded by dozens of delighted South African rugby fans—hearkens back to the first image of the film. In the first scene of the movie, Mandela's car drives down a road that divides a white rugby field from a black soccer field. It is the day he has been released from prison, and represents the racial divisions that are so prevalent in the country. By the end of the film, Mandela has brought together his countrymen through rugby, and the image of him in the car represents just how much he has changed.

  5. 5

    What is the significance of Nelson Mandela giving team members personal handshakes?

    Mandela is committed to a project of compassion, and believes that if he can connect with all individuals, he can empower them to make compassionate choices as well. This is why he thinks it is so powerful and important to know all of the Springboks team members' names and to greet them personally. This even extends to his opponents; before the game with the All Blacks, Mandela shakes every one of the New Zealand players' hands and wishes them luck.