Overview of Classroom Lessons
The film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, tells the inspirational story of one of the greatest leaders of our time, Nelson Mandela. From his humble beginnings in Transkei, South Africa, to his 27-year incarceration for treason and eventual release to become the first president of a fully participatory and democratic South Africa, the film provides educators with an important opportunity to help their students understand this inspirational story.
It is important to point out that in any dramatic film production, the story-tellers (i.e. screenwriters, directors, actors, et al.) make decisions on how best to present the story to their audience. Ask students to be aware of this and, where appropriate, identify scenes in the film that may differ from the historical facts they’ve learned and discuss why they think the story-tellers made those choices.
The educational materials for Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom will use the richness of the movie with accompanying film clips and skill-building activities to provide great learning opportunities for students to engage in meaningful discussions that explore key themes of the film.
The Impact Of Apartheid
The policy of apartheid defined South Africa for many decades, just as slavery and racial segregation defined the United States. Students will gain insight into the nature of segregation and its impact in South Africa as well as the United States. Working in small groups, students will formulate dramatic presentations of South Africans exercising their rights while simultaneously violating apartheid laws. Students will analyze the stories behind these presentations in light of decades of institutional segregation in South Africa and the United States and how both nation’s racial policies shaped relationships between blacks and whites in their respective countries. Students will then summarize their findings in a report and make recommendations for change.
The Influence of Culture
Students will reflect on the importance of culture. They will research how various cultural aspects influenced the life of Nelson Mandela. They will then write a self-reflection paper on how various cultural aspects have influenced their lives.