Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Visualizing Apartheid - Teaching Students About Nelson Mandela

Source: "The Life And Times Of Nelson Mandela," from the Nelson Mandela Centre Of Memory
With dignitaries and patriots converging in Johannesburg to honor Nelson Mandela, the hero's funeral has presented an intriguing educational opportunity for school children around the world. The media coverage devoted to Mandela's life as a civil rights champion and a global statesman has refocused attention on the horrors of Apartheid. This system of institutionalized racism, which gave Mandela such a bitter struggle and an enduring triumph, had previously been relegated to somewhat of an afterthought in many pages of contemporary history.


Children of the 1980s grew up with Apartheid in their daily consciousness. They heard news reports about protests and crackdowns, and they regularly reminded each other which collusive corporations to boycott. Children today, however, even at the Advanced Placement and collegiate ranks, often spend no more than a few minutes of one class period noting the sorrows of the Apartheid era before moving on to the next test topic.

It can be particularly difficult for teachers of younger learners to encapsulate these decades of discrimination and violence in an age-appropriate way. It can be equally as challenging to summarize Mandela's life, with its exuberant achievements and its occasional contradictions, in a clear manner.

Source: The Nelson Mandela Centre Of Memory
Fortunately, a few key visual resources exist to help broach this important legacy. One of the best videos is the animated series called "The Life And Times Of Nelson Mandela," from the Nelson Mandela Centre Of Memory. These brief clips offer understandable, dynamic avenues toward understanding the complicated history of the Apartheid generation. If you only have a few minutes, Part 3 documents the principle acts surrounding Mandela's imprisonment. If you can spare more time, though, be sure to watch Parts 1, 2, and 4.

Source: Know More, from The Washington Post
Source: ABS-CBN
(click for detail)
Another terrific tool from the Nelson Mandela Centre Of Memory is the Interactive Timeline tracing his life and accomplishments through text boxes and captivating photos. The smooth interface allows for quiet reflection and independent exploration of the events and culture.

For statistical data, an unambiguous graph from the Washington Post's Know More blog reveals "How Nelson Mandela Transformed South Africa In One Chart." The rise in national pride tracks closely with Mandela's own return to the citizenry.

For other educational resources in teaching about Mandela, we highly recommend:
Regarding background information about the decrees of Apartheid itself, the infographic from Anatomy Of Data lays out core facts and figures about this long span of segregation. The video "Cry Freedom - South Africa Under Apartheid, 1948 - 1991" also chronicles a rich photographic history of Apartheid through primary images and news snapshots. As a mild warning, a few of the photos could be somewhat jarring for younger viewers.



By the way, many thanks to our colleague Stefani Rosenthal (@StefRosenthal) for suggesting the idea for this post.

Source: Anatomy Of Data

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