Invictus – Inspirational People Like Nelson Mandela

When people think of inspirational people, Nelson Mandela, inevitably rank high on the list. He is considered an all time great who had endured years of trials and tribulations before coming onto the scene to produce a masterpiece of nation building for South Africa. His motivational presence and action united a war torn nation. All great leaders are able to do this because they are skilled leaders who possess the uncanny qualities of great statesmen.

After emerging from 27 years of prison, the death of aparthied allowed the the emergence of free elections for the first time in the history of South Africa. The black majority naturally prevailed in the first election involving a coloured candidate against the minority white Afrikaners who had ruled South Africa and imposed a harsh apartheid regime since the 17th Century. Nelson Mandela was the natural leader for the new South Africa. What faced him once he was elected was crime, violence, poverty, strife and a nation on the verge of civil war. His country needed inspirational people at a critical time.

Mandela saw the opportunity when the Springboks were allowed to play international rugby again. The rugby world cup was also due in South Africa in 1995, which promised to bring a world audience of a billion people on the final day of the tournament. That was one fifth of the world’s population watching South Africa. It was an opportunity too good to pass. But could a decadent Springbok side reach the finals given that the great teams of New Zealand and Australia ruled the rugby world then. Just as South Africa needed inspirational people to lift it, the Springboks also needed someone to lift them and inspire them. In come Francios Pienaar, the indomitable Springbok Captain.

Inspirational people like Mandela and Pienaar are hard to come by. Both had to let go of the past and inspire unwilling souls in their teams. Both had doubts about each other’s abilities to rally their people. But these are extra ordinary times for the country and team that demanded extra ordinary actions. With gusto and a committed soul they went about their task of motivating and inspiring all those around them.

This was a story that was to end in a fairy tale, and who said fairy tales don’t come true. Ask Mandela and Pienaar, inspirational people in their own right.

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