Invictus: NBSE Class 10 English questions, answers, notes

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Get here the summary and solutions of the chapter Invictus of NBSE Class 10 English. However, the given notes/solutions should only be used for references and should be modified/changed according to needs.


In the chapter Invictus, which is a part of the English syllabus of class 10 for students studying under Nagaland Board of School Education, you will learn how the first Black president of South Africa Nelson Mandela united the people of South Africa who were of different races.

Invictus tells us the importance of living in harmony with each other despite differences. In the chapter, we see that the blacks did not have a favourable opinion about the whites as they were seen as oppressors. Even the staff of Nelson Mandela which comprised of both the blacks and the whites always would tussle amongst themselves. But Mandela found a way to unite the people through the game of rugby as the country was going to host the world cup.

This South African rugby team comprised mostly of the whites and therefore they would be booed by their own countryman. The team was an underdog but as the tournament progressed, the team played magnificently and eventually every South African started to support the team regardless of their colours.

Nelson Mandela who was in jail before becoming the President was seen as a hero for uniting the people through the game and for motivating the team.

Textual questions and answers


1. A political system that existed to the early 1990s in South Africa in which people were divided into racial groups and kept apart by law was known as 

Answer: apartheid 

2. The sentence that could best summarise the text is 

Answer: how newly elected President Nelson Mandela joined forces with Francois Pienaar to help unite their country through sport and overcome racial division 

3. The poem that was a source of inspiration and strength to Nelson Mandela during his years in prison was 

Answer: Invictus 

4. Nelson Mandela’s life teaches us that 

Answer: if one is determined, one has the power to make a difference and leave their unique imprint on the world 

5. To the black people of South Africa rugby symbolised 

Answer: racism of past regimes

A. Reference to Context

1. Therefore, Mandela’s immediate challenge was ‘balancing black aspirations with white fears’ tackling crime and unemployment, the country’s most crucial problems.

a) The biggest challenge Mandela faced was
i) After his release from prison.
ii) During the movement against apartheid.
iii) When he assumed the office of President.

b) Explain what is meant by ‘balancing black aspirations with white fears’.
c) What were two of the most crucial problems in the country?

Answer: a) iii) When he assumed the office of President.

b) By balancing ‘black aspiration with white fears’, the author meant that there was an immediate need to bring the clashing South African people, which were comprised of both blacks and whites, together for the greater cause of the country. During that time, the blacks and whites were at loggerheads. The blacks aspired to get more inclusive in every sphere and the whites feared the dominance of the blacks over them.

c) To end apartheid and initiate full democratic elections, and tackling crime and unemployment were two of the most crucial problems in the country.

2. A testimony to that is the image of some white police officers rejoicing by hoisting a young black boy on their shoulders.

a) What does ‘that’ in line 1 refer to?
b) Why were the white police officers rejoicing?
c) Pick out a word in the passage which means ‘proof’.

Answer: a) It refers to the diminishing hatred of the blacks towards their white countrymen and the game of rugby altogether.

b) The white police officers were rejoicing at the phenomenal performance of the national rugby team in the 1995 World Cup.

c) The word ‘testimony’ means proof here.

3. The President and the captain met on the field to celebrate this impossible happening amidst a crowd comprising sixty-two thousand people of myriad races.

a) What was the occasion being celebrated?
b) Why is it called ‘impossible’?
c) What does the description ‘myriad races’ suggest?

Answer: a) The occasion being celebrated was the winning of the 1995 Rugby World Cup by the South African national team.

b) It is called impossible because the Springbok team was a mediocre team and was not expected to go beyond the quarterfinals. Also, they faced the New Zealand team, the most triumphant rugby team in the world and the favourites.

c) The description ‘myriad races’ suggests people from different ethnicities and colours who were present during the finale of the world cup and who witnessed the impossible.

4. Pride has many faces. It could be a noble one, as in the case of Mandela; it could be an obscene, or cruel face too! Mandela chose the noble face and rose about his conditions, not only from his prison cell but also in the struggle to unite his country.

a) What are the many faces of pride?
b) Cite one instance from the passage to substantiate the observation that Mandela chose the noble face.
c) Mandela was able to rise above his conditions-what quality in his character does this reflect?

Answer: a) Pride can take the face of nobility, cruelty or even can be obscene depending on the person.

b) One of the many instances to substantiate the observation that Mandela chose the noble face is that despite years of struggle and facing discrimination, he remained determined to unite the country. He also made sure that the aspiration of one community didn’t come at the expense of others.

c) It reflects his persistence, determination and perseverance in the face of absolute oppositions.

B. Read and Write

1. What was Mandela’s first work after his release from prison?

Answer: Mandela’s first work after his release from prison was to end apartheid and initiate full democratic elections where the black majority could vote.

2. Why had Mandela been imprisoned?

Answer: Mandela was imprisoned and given a life sentence for attempting to overthrow the apartheid rule in South Africa following the Rivonia Trial.

3. What did Mandela notice in his own security team?

Answer: Mandela noticed that his security team, comprising both old white and new black officials, were at loggerheads despite sharing the same goals and job.

4. Why was it almost impossible to defeat the New Zealand team?

Answer: It was almost impossible to defeat the New Zealand team because the New Zealand team was the most triumphant rugby team in the world and the favourites. They were almost unconquerable. On the other hand, the Springbok team, mediocre at best, was not expected to go beyond the quarterfinals.

5. Compare and contrast the attitude of the spectators in the two rugby matches at which Mandela was present.

Answer: In the first match which Mandela attended, the non-white people in the stadium jeered at their home squad because the Springboks, an all-white team, symbolized the prejudice that marred their lives. Moreover, some of the white people in the crowd had jeered at him. In the second match, however, the home crowd chanted his name as he came wearing a Springbok jersey with Pienaar’s number six on it. The whites didn’t jeer at him.

C. Think and Answer

1. People all over the world had said that Mandela’s people needed a leader. He gave them a champion! Discuss.

Answer: Nelson Mandela was one of the most influential leaders that the world has ever seen. He was born in colonized South Africa where the blacks were looked down upon. He was the key player in the anti-apartheid movement which opposed the apartheid system of racial segregation that privileged whites. The system was devised by the white-only government of South Africa’s National Party. The country needed a leader who could end the discrimination that the majority of the people were facing and Nelson Mandela sacrificed his life for the cause.

He spent 27 years in prison fighting against apartheid and finally when he did manage to form a government, he worked intensively towards dismantling the institutionalized racism and brought South Africa to a new morning. The people of the country could not have found a better leader to lead them than Nelson Mandela.

2. Mandela told Pienaar about the poem ‘Invictus’. How is this significant? What does this show about Mandela?

Answer: Mandela telling Pienaar about the poem ‘Invictus’ was a significant moment as right before that Mandela had watched Pienaar and his team being jeered at by the non-whites in the stadium despite being the home team. He knew Pienaar and his team was discouraged and it would reflect in the upcoming World Cup. Mandela wanted to encourage Pienaar and his team to strive for the best despite the opposition and made him realise that if the team was able to pull off a great tournament, it would go a long way in unifying the different ethnicities of the country through the sport.

This shows Mandala’s undying spirit, determination, and perseverance during the time of opposing circumstances. He was not someone who would give up at any cost and he wanted to induct the same spirit in the national rugby team.



3. Did you notice a change in Pienaar towards the end of the story? What is the change? What brought about this change?

Answer: Yes we noticed a change in Pienaar towards the end of the story. Pienaar was thoroughly motivated to give his best in the matches and win the Rugby World Cup for his country. More than the Rugby World Cup, he wanted to unite the strangled races in South Africa.

The change in him was brought about by the ambition of Nelson Mandela to bring the country above the racial discrimination, where the whites and non-whites could have a peaceful coexistence as the citizens of one country with equal rights and honour.

Extra MCQs

1. What political system was abolished in South Africa in the early 1990s? 

A. Monarchy B. Communism C. Apartheid D. Democracy 

Answer: C. Apartheid 

2. What does Nelson Mandela’s life teach us? 

A. Determination is key to overcoming hardships B. Leadership cannot change societal norms C. Sports have no role in politics D. Poetry has little impact on personal strength 

Answer: A. Determination is key to overcoming hardships 

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20. What was the outcome for the Springbok team in the 1995 Rugby World Cup? 

A. They were disqualified B. They lost in the semi-finals C. They won the championship D. They did not participate 

Answer: C. They won the championship

Extra Questions and Answers

1. What was Nelson Mandela’s first action towards ending apartheid after his release from prison in 1990? 

Answer: Upon his release in 1990, Nelson Mandela immediately began working towards ending apartheid and initiating full democratic elections where the black majority population could vote. 

2. How did Mandela plan to address the racial tensions present in South African society upon becoming president? 

Answer: Mandela’s immediate challenge upon becoming president was balancing black aspirations with white fears, alongside tackling the country’s most crucial problems, including crime and unemployment. 

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23. ‘Pride has many faces.’ What does it signify?

Answer: It signifies that pride and leadership go hand in hand. Prideful nature leads a person to realise his/her capacity and to lead others in the best possible way, but it has its own demons. While pride could be a noble one as in the case of Mandela, it could develop an obscene and cruel face too. Mandela chose the noble face and rose above his conditions to unify the country.

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