I was very moved by the film Invictus. It truly illustrated the power of sport. I have always loved the William Henley quote, “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul,” but never knew it was the end lines of a poem by Henley. I learned while watching Invictus that Nelson Mandela read this poem to himself regularly during his imprisonment. I did not get to visit Robben Island while I was in Capetown, as my tour was cancelled due to the weather and I couldn’t get it rebooked before I flew home, but visiting the townships and reading “Long Walk to Freedom” have had a great impact on me.
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.