1) What did Nelson Mandela risk by promoting reconciliation (forgiveness) between black and white South Africans after he was elected president?
2) How would you describe the relationships among Mandela’s security guards as the story progresses?
3) Why did Mandela take risks bringing all the citizens of South Africa together?
4) Describe the relationship between Mandela and Francois Pienaar.
5) Do both characters gain from this relationship?
6) Matt Damon’s character, Francois Pienaar, took many risks of his own after first meeting Mandela. What were they and what was his motivation?
7) What scenes stand out as pivotal to the development of Pienaar as he struggles with the many challenges he faces? What is revealed about Pienaar through these scenes?
8) How do different groups in South Africa begin to come together as the movie proceeds?
9) See the poem “Invictus” on page 3. How does this poem relate to the movie? Why do you think it was used as the title for the movie?
10) The poem talks about an individual facing challenges, and yet the movie is about individuals working together, eventually in solidarity. Is there a contradiction between individualism and the common good?
11) Fifteen years after the events in this movie, South Africa faces many problems, including great poverty; centuries of injustices have left their mark on this nation. Is there a value of celebrating the potential of South Africa through a film such as Invictus at this later date, with so many challenges remaining for this African nation?
12) Do you believe that art, such as poetry and movies, and sport, such as rugby and soccer, can have a role in the ongoing work of justice and peace? Why or why not?
13) Mandela says: If we remove the rugby team, “we prove that we are who they feared we would be.” What does he mean in this statement?
14) What was the point of the team’s trip to Robben Island to see the prison where Mandela was held?
15) In 1969, three years after arriving on Robben Island to serve a life sentence for sabotage, Nelson Mandela’s eldest son died in a car crash. Prison authorities refused to allow Mandela to attend the funeral. After 27 years in prison, how is it possible to not only forgive your captors, but to seek reconciliation with the white population and the apartheid leaders?
16) What did Fran François Pienaar, the captain of the Springboks rugby team, learn from Nelson Mandela?
17) What was the significance of Mandela wearing the green and gold jersey and matching cap of the Springboks team at the end of the movie? Why was it so important to his strategy?
He risked that the blacks will turn against him, because they wanted to punish the whites for how they were treated.
The moment where he chooses to become the coach of the kid’s rugby team, shows that he cares about other people and bringing the country together. After meeting Mandela and listening to his vision.
Also, when he goes on a visit to the prison where Mandela went. That shows his empathy towards people who are treated unfairly like Mandela was.