5. History Maker: Nelson Mandela

In this lessson the students learn about Nelson Mandela's life.

Resources Needed
The South African flag.

Curriculum aims
The lesson has links to Curriculum aims in History and programmes of study in English.

Learning Objective
To explore why Nelson Mandela can be seen as a “history maker”.

Learning Outcome
To understand that change can be brought about by ordinary people.

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Ask students to write an Acrostic poem using “apartheid” as the stem-word. Students think of words and phrases to do with apartheid beginning with the each letter in turn. Do a class acrostic on the board.

Main Activity
How many of the class have heard of Nelson Mandela? What do they know about him? Who was he? What did he do? Explain that he is an iconic figure in South Africa who symbolizes the fight against apartheid. Along with comrades in the African National Congress party he led rebellion against the discrimination faced by black South Africans. Ultimately he went to prison for 27 years for his beliefs and refused to back down.

Explain that they are going to explore Mandela’s life and the ways in which he fought against apartheid. Split the class into 4 groups. Give each group the text to one the four parts of Mandela’s life. Working with a partner they read it and then answer the questions.

Divide the class into groups of 4, ensuring that there are students who have read each part of Mandela’s story. Each member of the group explains what they have learnt about the different phases of Nelson Mandela’s life. Pose the question “Is Nelson Mandela a “history – maker”?” As a group they decide what they think, using evidence from their reading to back up their argument.

Look at the South African flag. Tell students that it was a new flag, decided on after the end of apartheid. 
What do they think it means? The main design of the flag, the green “Y” starting at the flag post and coming together in the centre of the flag, can be seen as the coming together of the different people of South Africa who then take the road ahead together. To what extent does the flag reflect Mandela’s beliefs?