Invictus Imagery

Two Worlds

The opening scene of the film shows white kids being coached at rugby practice, while across the street a group of black kids play soccer. Nelson Mandela has just been released and his motorcade drives on the road between the two groups. The black kids cheer and the white coach tells his team South Africa has "gone to the dogs." The imagery foreshadows Mandela's unprecedented ascent to president and unifier of South Africa, as well as the segregation that is embedded in the culture of the country.

Mandela's Cell

Francois visits Robben Island with his Springbok teammates, and he steps into the cell that Mandela lived in for 27 years. Francois has visions of Mandela in the cell, as well as him working outside at the prison. This imagery reveals that Francois is not just physically stepping into Mandela's shoes, but also emotionally placing himself where he has been. And, while the other Springboks make a quick viewing of the Island, Pienaar's sincere understanding connects him and the now-President in a way that destines them to fight for unity together.

Mandela in the car

At the end of the film, Mandela is alone in his car, being driven through the streets of Johannesburg following the Springboks' victory. After all of his tireless work to unite his country around rugby, he is surrounded by its jubilant effects, as he sits, calmly and emotionally, within the confines of his car, the image of a selfless and compassionate leader.

Holding up the trophy

After they win the game against New Zealand, Francois holds up their trophy to raucous cheers from the crowd. The image, of the sweaty, mud-covered captain of the team, holding up the reward for all his hard work, is an evocative and inspiring sight.