Morgan Freeman explains what Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) was like and how the Nobel Peace Prize winner relied on a poem by William Ernest Henley (“Invictus”) for strength while imprisoned on Robben Island for 27 years (Charlie Rose, January 12, 2013).
Morgan Freeman was playing the role of Mandela in the film “Invictus” (Director: Clint Eastwood, 2009).
More information here (Open Culture): http://www.openculture.com/2013/12/morgan-freeman-masterfully-recites-nelson-mandelas-favorite-poem-invictus.html
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.
The poem’s last stanza was quoted by US President Barack Obama at the end of Obama’s speech (“Remembering Nelson Mandela”) at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service (10 December 2013) in South Africa.