Friday, May 10, 2013


We continued discussing Apartheid today.  I know I had mentioned moving on to Ancient China, but I felt like I was short-changing Mandela...  and given the fact that he's one of the greatest heroes of our time, I felt bad about doing that.  I mean, for real... imprisoned unjustly for 27 years?  And a day and a half of 45 minute classes is hardly giving the South African Independence Movement - and Mandela their due anyway.

Mandela was elected president in 1994 - truly ending Apartheid.

Apartheid: the government sanctioned racist/discriminatory government of South Africa.

Lets see... in 1994 I was in 7th grade.  I had learned about Jim Crow.  I'd learned about Dr. King, and Rosa Parks, the bus boycott and the civil rights movement here in the United States.  As a child, I felt as if it had happened so long ago.

It still seems crazy to me that Apartheid existed during my lifetime at all - even if it wasn't in the United States.

True, even here there are still lingering problems of racism.  Maybe you also came across THIS story.

What I take from this is: this was happening during my life-time.  And I was ignorant of it.  (Granted, I was a 7th grader.)  This was a gross injustice.  What injustices am I ignorant of today?  And how can I open my eyes?

The other thing I take from this is that Mandela was imprisoned 27 years, and he came out and forgave and united his country.  I felt like I've been unjustly punished before.  Forgiveness has not always been at the front of my mind.

If my students read and discuss this post with an adult, they can get extra credit.  To prove that you read and discussed it, ask the adult you read and discussed it with what they were doing in 1994, and if they learned about Apartheid in school.  Write their answer on a piece of paper, and have them sign it.  Turn it in on Monday.

Don't forget, ISTEP Monday.

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