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The 16th Man (African Diaspora FF)

53 min
  • DIRECTOR: Clifford Bestall
  • STARRING: Morgan Freeman, François Pienaar, James Small

SHOWTIMES 12/03/2023 (change date):

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The 16th Man is a powerful docu look about rugby politics. It gives the unvarnished historical facts about the role of rugby in helping to unify the badly divided black and white populations of South Africa. It is the same story dramatized last year in Clint Eastwood’s “Invictus,” starring Morgan Freeman as newly elected president Nelson Mandela and Matt Damon as rugby team captain Francois Pienaar. In the documentary, Oscar winner Morgan Freeman and director Cliff Bestall tell the emotional story of a cornerstone moment of early post-apartheid South Africa and what it meant to South Africa’s healing process. Rugby Union has long been viewed in South Africa as a game for the white population, and the country’s success in the sport has been a true source of Afrikaner pride. When the 50-year-old policies and entrenched injustices of apartheid were finally overthrown in 1994, Nelson Mandela’s new government began rebuilding a nation badly in need of racial unity. So, the world was watching when South Africa played host to the 1995 Rugby World Cup. Though they had only one non-white player, the South African Springboks gained supporters of all colors as they made an improbable run into the final match where they beat the heavily favored New Zealand team. When Mandela himself marched to the center of the pitch cloaked in a Springbok jersey and shook hands with the captain of the South African team, two nations became one.



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