Playing The Enemy

Playing The Enemy

Nelson Mandela And The Game That Made A Nation

Book - 2008
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In 1985, Nelson Mandela, then in prison for 23 years, set about winning over the fiercest proponents of apartheid, from his jailers to the head of South Africa's military. First he earned his freedom and then he won the presidency in the nation's first free election in 1994. But he knew that South Africa was still dangerously divided. If he couldn't unite his country in a visceral, emotional way--and fast--it would collapse into chaos. He would need all the charisma and strategic acumen he had honed during half a century of activism, and he'd need a cause all South Africans could share. Mandela picked one of the more farfetched causes imaginable--the national rugby team, the Springboks, who would host the sport's World Cup in 1995. Author Carlin, former South Africa bureau chief for the London Independent, offers a portrait of the greatest statesman of our time in action.--From publisher description.
Publisher: New York : Penguin Press, 2008.
ISBN: 9781594201745
1594201749
Characteristics: 274 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.

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FederalWayEdna Jun 19, 2015

I knew Mandela was a remarkable and charismatic leader; this book explains how he brought two extremely opposing ideals together by having enough character to focus on the ultimate goal and do anything, anything to attain it with minimal hate and violence. It's about respect for all human kind including those who fear for their security and their place in society (community and global).

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Sue2
Jul 07, 2012

I read this after seeing the movie and it filled in the story, much more historical details than in the movie. I enjoyed it. The sports part is really only the last half of the book.

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Traviata44
Jul 04, 2011

Playing the Enemy by John Carlin documents the strategy of Nelson Mandela to unite South Africa's blacks and whites behind the country's primarily Afrikaan's rugby team, the Springboks. It is a delightful and engrossing read of historical significance and a great deal of local atmosphere.
In close proximity to Afrikaans prison guards for many years, Mandela taught himself their language and made many friendships. Freed from prison and elected President of South Africa he turned this personal experience into an asset as a Springbok fan, cajoling black South Africans to join him. "One team, one nation" became the slogan and the green cap and jersey a powerful message of previously unthinkable attitudinal change.
Chapters about the change process in the team members themselves are particularly heartening. If it can happen in South Africa, there is hope for us all.

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