It was the evening of the Club's Weekly Cocktail party and as newly arrived guests we were invited. Appropriately attired we arrived and following the required toasts to the Queen and The Commonwealth an elderly couple whom had arrived from Cape Town by Cargo Vessel the same day (they were not much into flying, you know, old chap), proposed a toast to Nelson Mandela, being the new President's Birthday.
I admit it at the time I knew his name and not a lot more. The event held in what is probably is the last bastion of Queen and Commonwealth, for a naive little Aussie wide eyed in London, will hold an indelible place.
From that day The President of the New South Africa started a journey that will be one of the greatest stories of the history we are now writing. His ability to set aside the emotion he must have felt against his captors and to take the inner peace that he had found and turn it into one of the most powerfully motivating forces that this little blue marble has seen, probably ever.
Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman had wanted to capture the story of the Man and when Invictus was presented to them the decision was easy. The poem, we are told, Mandela found great comfort and solace and certainly, it would seem, allowed him the Peace of Mind to understand what must be upon his release from Prison.
I know one thing the movie, the poem, his writing and most importantly the man have had a significant affect on the way I now view the world. To have walked on this earth as a mere mortal and have had the blessing of observing one of mankind's true greats achieve what he has is just unbelievable. I can but pray that the journey and the plan he laid out for us all can be carried out to a truly positive lifelong outcome.
Tata - indeed he is - not just to a new nation but hopefully to a new world.
May Madiba rest in the peace he so justly deserves.
Below is my little tribute based on the poem and the Music of the Movie.