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This just in: Matt Damon will play Francois Pienaar in a film about the 1995 World Cup. It’s an interesting bit of casting, don’t you think? Not only is Damon half the size of Pienaar, but, crucially, he doesn’t look like a duck. I think LA Law’s Corbin Bernsen would be much better. I’ll explain later.

Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela makes a lot more sense, and will come as a huge relief for Freeman, who has diligently maintained the Madiba haircut for 25 years in order to stay the number one choice. But if the role of Madiba is sewn up, that of Kobus Wiese is far from it. Hollywood might consider overfeeding Russell Crowe then repeatedly hammering him over his head with a spade until it looked like a tree stump. It’s that or shaving a panda.

Several Hollywood actors have tried, and mostly failed, to pull off the Sarth Efrican accent, from Tim Robbins’ glue-sniffer mumble in Catch a Fire to Leonardo Di Caprio’s over-the-top “Haazit-mah-bru” in Blood Diamond. By all accounts it’s a hard accent to master, which feels like a compliment but probably isn’t.

Back to Corbin Bernsen. Who better to play the Springbok captain than the man who brought Arnie Becker to life in the much-loved legal drama? He’s tall, he’s blonde, he looks a bit like a duck. He’s the man. The only slight snag is that he has never played rugby and would look absurd, but that clearly didn’t stop Colin Moss in Number 10, did it? Too old, you say? Perhaps, but Pienaar spent all game at the bottom of the ruck, so you won’t ever actually have to see him until the trophy moment, and that’s where the botox would come in. So vote Corbin.

The hardest person to cast will be the mysterious “Suzie”, the woman accused of poisoning the All Blacks before the final. The casting description for her will be something like “25-30 year old figment of the New Zealand team’s imagination”. There aren’t a lot of those around in the acting trade. Casting directors take note: Your best bet is to Google “All Blacks choke + sour grapes + boo-hoo-we-lost-again”.

That afternoon in 1995 was memorable for many reasons, not least the presence and endorsement of Mandela himself. This month, we cast a look back at some of the other defining moments in the life of our former president. In honour of his 90th birthday, we’re dedicating the whole issue to him. We like to think this honour ranks right up there with his Nobel prize, don’t you?

Elsewhere, we remember some of Madiba’s pearls of wisdom and take you to Mozambique, the home of Madiba’s missus. We review the much drooled over new album from Coldplay and bring you the bittersweet predictions from the World Economic Forum on Africa’s future. It is the dead of winter, in case you hadn’t noticed, so we’re also unveiling a brand new section – the Home Section – to keep you busy and inspired indoors. And we introduce our very own Green superhero. Because we can.

Matthew
The Editor