Resource to shine light on Mandela’s legacy for K-12 learners

A group of educators led by Brock researcher Dolana Mogadime has launched a resource designed to help students from kindergarten to Grade 12 learn about Nelson Mandela in a global context.

Mandela Global Human Rights: Peace, Reconciliation and Responsibility: A Teacher Guide and Lessons for Educators,” which is also available in French, includes a guide for educators and 14 lessons about Mandela and the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa.

Mandela spent 27 years in prison for opposing white minority rule in South Africa. He won the Nobel Peace Prize with President FW de Klerk in 1993 for their work toward the peaceful end of apartheid. Mandela went on to become South Africa’s first democratically elected President in 1994.

The resource’s release coincides with the United Nations’ (UN) International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which is observed annually on March 21 to commemorate the 69 people killed by police during a peaceful demonstration against apartheid “pass laws” in Sharpeville, South Africa, in 1960.

Mogadime, Professor in Brock’s Faculty of Education, is originally from South Africa and came to Canada at age seven. Her great-grandfather, Henry Selby Msimang, was a founding member of a political group that became the African National Congress, later led by Mandela. Her mother, Caroline Goodie Tshabalala Mogadime, was recognized by the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) in its Mandela: Struggle for Freedom exhibition for her contributions to Canada’s anti-apartheid movement.

The Mandela teachers’ guide was developed by Dolana Mogadime and members of the Teaching Nelson Mandela (TNM) Curriculum Project, which includes Brock researchers, students and alumni as well as K-12 school leaders and a visiting scholar.

At the centre of their work is the African humanist philosophy of Ubuntu.

“That interconnected humanistic approach from Ubuntu really was the life force of what Mandela had been envisioning,” says Mogadime, who believes that focusing on the ideals of Ubuntu makes learning about the life and work of Mandela relevant for students in Ontario’s classrooms today.

“I hope these lessons help students to develop a sense of empathy and understanding across differences and also a sense of their own responsibilities around humanity and social action,” she says. “Providing examples of what that has looked like historically can inform students’ understandings of what’s possible for them in their own lives.”

The project’s lessons were created using Ontario Ministry of Education Curriculum documents and address a range of subjects, including the humanities, gender studies, social studies, civics, political science, world studies, geography, history, creative writing, language arts and visual arts.

The resource guides educators through ways to engage with Black history and Black excellence in the classroom by connecting lessons about Mandela with mandated curriculum in Ontario and beyond. It also offers connection points to the human rights violations experienced by Indigenous communities in Canada.

“Dr. Mogadime’s work exemplifies the commitment of Brock faculty to accessible and transformative educational experiences for our next generation of educators,” says Lesley Rigg, President and Vice-Chancellor of Brock University. “As a signatory to the Scarborough Charter, Brock University is committed to creating equitable, diverse and inclusive opportunities for all. These open teacher education lesson plans are one way in which that commitment has been brought to life for learners in Ontario, across Canada and around the world.”

Mogadime was commissioned by the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, in collaboration with Brock University, to lead the project and the TNM Advisory Group. The project was made possible with funding by the Government of Ontario and through eCampusOntario’s support of the Virtual Learning Strategy and Ontario Exchange.

Mogadime, CMHR’s inaugural Visiting Scholar, has worked with the museum on several initiatives relating to its Mandela: Struggle for Freedom exhibition. She is honoured that her work plays a role in handing down lessons from her heritage to future generations.

“I feel this is very much about ancestral work and being part and parcel of not just honouring, but also acknowledging, the importance of our connectedness to our ancestors,” she says. “We all have ancestors and each of them has a wisdom that we can all benefit from.”

Contributors to the Mandela Global Human Rights resource include:

  • Dolana Mogadime (Project Lead), Professor in the Faculty of Education at Brock University
  • Yvan Brochu (MEd ’99, BA ’89), Secondary Principal in the Grand Erie District School Board
  • Sally Hooper (MEd ‘2006), Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at Brock University
  • Oscar Koopman, Senior Lecturer at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Cape Town, South Africa, and International Visiting Scholar at Brock University (2019)
  • Sherilyn Lehn (MEd ’16), high school teacher in the District School Board of Niagara and Grand Erie District School Board
  • Craig Marlatt, a secondary school Head of Canadian and World Studies in the Durham District School Board
  • Anneke McCabe, a PhD candidate at Brock University and elementary music teacher in the Upper Grand District School Board
  • Lyn Trudeau (BA ’08, MEd ’13,), Lecturer in the Centre for Women’s and Gender Studies and PhD candidate at Brock University

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