Monthly Archives: June 2010
A reader recently wrote to DeadBall’s more-or-less unused email address email@example.com demanding answers. And as we appear to have ground to a halt, and as we have never, to my knowledge, received inquiries from any other readers, I thought it pertinent to respond to these questions. I should also state from the outset that responding to the questions didn’t involve actually watching the film in question, which looked extremely worthy and tedious, even by sport movie standards.
Anyway, here’s the email, with our responses interspersed in italics:
any chance you could do a piece on Invictus? I saw it for the first time recently, and am pretty curious / troubled by it.
Yes, there is a chance that we could do a piece on Invictus. This is it.
How true is the story actually? Did Nelson Mandela really get that involved in the rugby? Does this mean he arranged the poisoning of the All Blacks 48 hours before the final? What are the chances of Nelson Mandela pulling similar sh*t during the soccer world cup?
This is the portion of the response which is hardest to get into without having seen the film (readers who have indeed seen it should feel free to chip in with comments). As I understand it, the story is about as true as, say The Hurricane, which is to say largely true, but when the truth was inconvenient it was abandoned. I think Nelson was pretty into the rugby, seeing in it a chance to unify a riven nation, and not as a sport representing the kind of joyous funtime activity the whitefolk who imprisoned him for all those years used to wind down when they weren’t oppressing him and all other black people in South Africa. Most people would have banned rugby upon seizing power, just to spite the former oppressor, which would have been good for New Zealand rugby, in that we’d have won at least one more World Cup (possibly). But I suppose that’s why he’s Nelson Mandela and we’re just oiks on the internet.
Which I suppose suggests he didn’t arrange the All Blacks’ poisoning, being a legendarily nice man. I think the poisoning has always seemed like some kind of Boer plot, hatched by Pieter Van Zyl types. And in terms of the football World Cup, two things suggest the poisoning is unlikely to be repeated: firstly, South Africa are already watching from the sidelines/shanty towns so there’s little to be gained from going a-poisonin’; and secondly FIFA seem to control all controversial incidents very tightly, and would furious if any other organisation attempted to ambush the tight scripting of their event by getting amongst the conspiracy founding business. Continue reading