Teaching Nelson Mandela
By now you've heard the news from South Africa that Nelson Mandela has died at age 95.
The passing of Mandelathe symbol of the anti-apartheid movement, who served 27 years in prison before being elected his nation's first black presidentis undoubtedly a topic of discussion in schools today. And it's a quintessential teachable moment that should not go untapped.
But how do you capture the life of a liberation leader, political prisoner, and president who helped end a nation's system of racial oppression? How do you convey his place in history for students?
Here are some resources for bringing Mandela to the classroom:
- The History Channel has a slideshow timeline of Mandela's life, as well as videos and audio clips, including one from the day he was released from prison.
- NPR's Nelson Mandela: An Audio History is an hourlong radio show, produced in 2004, told through the voices of people who experienced apartheid, including Mandela himself. NPR also published a collection of news coverage, videos, and photos related to Mandela.
- CNN has a "fast facts" timeline of Mandela's life, which could be a good place to get younger students going on creating their own representation of the leader's legacy.
- On the BBC's website, there's a "teacher resources" page devoted to Mandela, including an online quiz, photos, and a student-friendly presentation of the facts.
- PBS' Frontline released a two-hour program entitled "The Long Walk to Freedom" in 1999, which chronicles Mandela's life through his presidency. The website includes a teachers' guide.
- Yesterday, both President Obama and South Africa's President Jacob Zuma gave moving speeches on Mandela's death.
Please feel free to add your own resources for teachers below.
Nelson Mandela and his wife, Winnie, raise clenched fists as they walk hand-in-hand upon his release from prison in Cape Town in 1990. Greg English/AP-File