Ready-to-use Discussion: Nelson Mandela

Let’s face it: it’s pretty difficult to sum up the impact and legacy of Nelson Mandela, let alone ground that in the reality of a young person’s existence! But let’s give it a go – here are a few ideas.

For a free pdf download of this resource click here.

What do they know?

Begin the session by asking the young people what they know about Mandela. Write down everything they say on a large sheet of paper or whiteboard and give everyone the chance to contribute. If anyone feels confident enough, ask them to share as much of Mandela’s story as they can. After everyone has had a chance to contribute, try to explain the history and story of Nelson Mandela as quickly as possible. There are some useful links for this on the links section of the Youthwork website.

What inspires you?

Using another large sheet of paper or whiteboard, ask the young people to give suggestions of what inspired Mandela to do what he did, what he cared about and what he wanted to see changed. (Again, if they are short of ideas, use the links on the Youthwork website to explain Mandela’s inspirations and what Apartheid was!)

Say: the context that Mandela was in and the injustice he saw inspired him to spend his life campaigning for change. What are the things around you that you want to see changed? Give the group time individually to reflect on the things in their life, their community, their school or the world that they would want to see changed. To help, encourage them to think about what inspires or motivates them and what that says about their passions.

What next?

Say: one of the most impressive things about Mandela was the way he went about creating change. In his later years his approach towards fighting injustice was the polar opposite of so much that we see done by world leaders. He undermined Apartheid by confronting it with pacifism and dignity.

To finish, give the young people space to reflect on what they can do in their everyday life to enact change. Encourage them that starting off with small steps can lead to radical change.

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