Mandela Day, 18 July, is a United Nations International Day in honour of Nelson Mandela. The date is his birthday, and 2018 marks the centenary of his birth. As well as our Ready to Use Resource and BioBox quiz, here are some online resources for classroom use about Mandela Day.
Our downloadable BioBox quiz is a perfect way to start a sequence on Nelson Mandela from A2. It is a short “Who Am I?” video quiz which you can download. (Right-click once the link opens and choose “Save As” to download.)
The clues become progressively easier, allowing pupils to guess the identity of the mystery person: Nelson Mandela.
The Mandela Day website proposes two different videos. We have provided suggestions for using “What is Mandela Day?”, a short speech by Nelson Mandela himself in our B1 Ready to use Resource, along with the transcript.
You can download the video. (Right-click once the link opens and choose “Save As” to download.)
From B1+-B2, there is a longer video, “Mandela the Public Servant”, which includes quotes, clips of Mandela’s speeches, and encouragements to participate in Mandela Day from Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama, Hillary Clinton and Morgan Freeman, who memorably portrayed Mandela in the film Invictus. You can download the video. (Right-click once the link opens and choose “Save As” to download.)
Check out the Resources section on the Mandela Day site for other resources. There’s a learner worksheet that could be adapted from B2, with a biography and timeline as well as questions. You’ll also find illustrated quotes, posters and information sheets.
Mandela Day is observed as a day of service to others, as Martin Luther King, Jr Day is in the U.S.A. The United Nations Mandela Day site has examples of concrete actions for giving service.
Mandela Day is a great opportunity to revisit Invictus with your pupils. The 2009 film tells the story of how the newly elected President Mandela showed how it was possible to unite his terribly divided country by rallying behind the 1995 Rugby World Cup, which was being held in South Africa despite rugby’s past in the country as a segregated white sport. The trailer is usable from B1.
The title of the film is the title of a poem that Nelson Mandela said had given him courage during the 27 years he spent in prison, by English poet William Henley (1849–1903). The title means “unconquerable” in Latin. Henley wrote the message of stoicism and courage in response to the ordeal of having tuberculosis of the bone and having a leg amputated. Mandela used it to help him withstand the terrible conditions in prison.
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
For lycée students, the Apartheid Museum in Soweto, Johannesburg, has an excellent downloadable Learner’s Book, Understanding Apartheid, and teaching guide.