‘Invictus’: The Will, Decision, Strategy, and Action of the Leader


Responsibility of the head of a nation is naturally greater then the top of an enterprise.

Among the heads of nations during these 40-50 years, not many are remembered as historical figures.  But Nelson Mandela of the South Africa is without doubt one of those remembered in our history.  In the midst of that Apartheid, he began his engagement in political activities from around 1950 as a lawyer, had been imprisoned for 27 years, spent a life which is hard for us even to imagine.  He was released from the prison in the 1990s reflecting the change in political climate and was elected the first president in the fully representative democratic election of 1994 after the abolition of the Apartheid.  It is beyond our imagination the pressure and stress he had to endure as the top of a nation in such a difficult time.  I understand that he respected Gandhi as a leader in politics.

However, what I want to write in this posting is not about his life, but about the 1995 Rugby World Cup  held in South Africa.  All games were played in South Africa and believe it or not, South Africa gained a victory over the undefeatable New Zealand – precisely the case of ‘fact is stranger than fiction’.

Recently a film on this story was released (in Japanese) (Ref.1).  The title is ‘Invictus’ (taken from the poem by William E Henley) ) The film is based on the book ‘Playing the Enemy: Nelson Mandela and the Game that Made a Nation’  by John Carlin, a journalist who was residing in South Africa at the time when Mandela was elected president.

It is truly a moving story.  The will, decision, strategy, and action of the leader who was bestowed responsibility to take leadership of a country in an extremely complicated and difficult situation even to imagine.  Clint Eastwood, the director, did a wonderful job again.  As always, his point of view is great.  By all means, please see this film.

The time changes, but the responsibility of the leader of a nation is not in the least getting lighter than the old ages.  It is more and more difficult to tell where we are  heading to in this global world.  The key is the ability to see things in a large historical context, philosophical mind, practical wisdom, and the power to touch people’s heart.

Dr. Laurie Gallett, my friend and a journalist, keeps a life sized photo of President Mandela in her office.  Indeed, Nelson Mandela is a great leader respected by the world.

In the age of great changes, how are our leaders of Japan doing?  It appears to me that they are wandering around.  Oh, come out, the leaders of Japan (though it is not just about political arena….)!