Master of my fate, Captain of my soul

Invictus is a beautifully crafted poem by William Ernest Henley.

The film on Nelson Mandela uses the title and the poem is narrated by Morgan Freeman (who plays Mandela in the film). The poem and its thought are so inspiring in context of Nelson Mandela and his experience in prison.

It takes great willpower and resilience to be in jail for 27 years and to come out with your spirit intact, if not buoyed by the experience. Mandela was first on Robben Island, and later in Pollsmoor Prison and Victor Verster Prison and left with his soul intact.

The way it is depicted in the film Invictus is so beautiful. It makes you sense the reality of the prison and what he has achieved against this backdrop.

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.

William Ernest Henley



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