Actor Matt Damon in Rugby Training for Nelson Mandela Film

The Hollywood actor is starring in a new film about Nelson Mandela's attempts to unify the country after apartheid, focusing on the Springboks' 1995 Rugby World Cup triumph.

Directed by Clint Eastwood and featuring Morgan Freeman as Mandela, the film originally titled "The Human Factor" but recently re-named "Invictus" explores how sporting glory helped build a new identity for South Africa under its first black president. It is set to open worldwide on Dec. 11. The sporting glory was South Africa's stunning championship in the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

Damon, who picked up line-out tips between filming sessions in Cape Town, has also used his time in South Africa to raise awareness about the plight of refugees from neighboring Zimbabwe.

He visited refugee centers in Musina on the border between the countries; at one point listening to a Zimbabwean woman describe how she was raped while pregnant after fleeing her homeland.

 An estimated three million Zimbabweans have escaped the economic collapse and dire humanitarian conditions in their country for South Africa.

  Damon said that he was "shocked and saddened" by the plight of the people he had spoken to. He said conditions were "untenable" and called on international and regional leaders to take action.

 The actor, who founded the human rights organization Not On Our Watch with other stars including Brad Pitt and George Clooney, said he hoped to use his "celebrity capital" to raise awareness about Zimbabwe.

  He said it was important to keep pressure on international and regional leaders into helping Zimbabwe resolve its problems.

 

       

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Actor Matt Damon in Rugby Training for Nelson Mandela Film

 

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