In Johannesburg, South Africa, many people (both black and white) are gathered near the hospital where the former South African President and activist Nelson Mandela lie in critical condition. Mandela is known as the “heart” of the eradication of the apartheid movement and we celebrate his life and his philosophy. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle are visiting South Africa.
ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key.
Excerpt: Obama Meets With Mandela Family as Vigil Continues By Michael D. Shear, The New York Times
“President Obama decided against a personal visit with Nelson Mandela, the ailing 94-year-old former president of South Africa, delivering his respects in a private meeting Saturday with Mandela’s family even as South Africans gathered at the former president’s home to express their emotional bond him.
The presidential limousine slipped past a gate at the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory Saturday afternoon, leaving the media behind as Mr. Obama, accompanied by the first lady Michelle, met for about 25 minutes with Mr. Mandela’s relatives before heading to a town-hall meeting with students in Soweto. In statement after the meeting, Mr. Obama said he had also spoken by phone with Graça Machel, Mr. Mandela’s wife, who remained by his bedside.
I expressed my hope that Madiba draws peace and comfort from the time that he is spending with loved ones, Mr. Obama said. I also reaffirmed the profound impact that his legacy has had in building a free South Africa, and in inspiring people around the world — including me. That’s a legacy that we must all honor in our own lives.
A steady stream of mostly white well-wishers gathered outside that home Saturday, leaving flowers or inscriptions on small colored rocks clustered under trees outside the closed gates. One note, left under a tree and address to Madiba,” Mr. Mandela’s clan name, said: Madiba, We drove across town without having to get permission. We live where we can, not where we are told to. All because of you and other heroes. Thank you, Lucien, Joelene, Ava and Luke…
White House officials said the decision not to bring the American president and his entourage to Mr. Mandela’s bedside at a hospital in Pretoria was made “out of deference to Nelson Mandela’s peace and comfort and the family’s wishes.” The White House had originally hoped to spotlight the two men together, offering a generational tableau of the first black leaders in both countries. Mr. Obama said as he flew to South Africa on Friday that he does not need “a photo-op” while he is in the country…
“Nelson Mandela showed what is possible and the people of South Africa have shown what’s possible when a priority is placed on constitutions and rule of law and respect for human dignity and that all people are treated equal, Mr. Obama said.” Read more…
To All of Our Readers: A Glorious 4th of July!~ESL Voices~
Level: Intermediate -Advanced
Language Skills: Reading, writing, speaking, listening, vocabulary, and grammar activities are included.
Time: Approximately 2 hours.
Materials: Student handouts (from this lesson) access to news article, and video.
Objective: Students will read the article with a focus on improving reading comprehension and learning new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on Nelson Mandela through discussions, and writing.
I. Pre-Reading Activities
Stimulating background knowledge
Directions: Place students in groups, ask students to think about what they already know about Nelson Mandela. Next, have students look at the picture(s) from the post and generate ideas or words that may be connected to the article. Debrief as a class and list these ideas on the board. Try this great brainstorming chart by Kootation.com to assist students.
II. While Reading Activities
Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary or thesaurus for assistance. Have the students write sentences using each word. They will find this Word Map by Education Oasis useful.
- Nelson Mandela, the ailing 94-year-old is the former president of South Africa.
- Mr. Obama said. “I also reaffirmed the profound impact that his legacy has had in building a free South Africa.”
- The Centre of Memory will be the institution that seeks to keep Mr. Mandela’s legacy alive after he dies.
- Well-wishers gathered outside that home Saturday, leaving flowers or inscriptions on small colored rocks.
- Mrs. Machel, making a rare public appearance was flanked by security guards.
- The decision not to bring the American president to Mr. Mandela’s bedside was made out of deference to Nelson Mandela’s peace and comfort.
- Mr. Obama said that he does not need a “photo-op” while he is in the country.
- Mr. Mandela has been ill since being admitted to the hospital three weeks ago for a chronic lung infection.
- Mr. Obama plans to salute Mr. Mandela’s life with a visit to Robben Island, the prison where the iconic South African leader spent 18 years in a tiny cell.
- Mr. Zuma noted the symbolism saying that Mr. Obama and Mr. Mandela are the first black presidents of their countries.
Directions: Review the statements with students before the watching the video. As students listen to the video if a statement is true they mark it T. If the statement is not applicable, they mark it NA. If the statement is false they mark it F and provide the correct answer.
- Nelson Mandela is the former president of South Africa.
- Mr. Obama, accompanied by the first lady Michelle, met for about 25 minutes with Mr. Mandela.
- Winnie Mandela is Mr. Mandela’s wife.
- The Centre of Memory hopes to keep Mr. Mandela’s legacy alive after he dies.
- A steady stream of mostly African well-wishers gathered outside Mandela’s home Saturday.
- Mr. Mandela spent 18 months in a tiny cell in Robben Island.
- Mr. Mandela will leave a fortune to South African charities.
- Mr. Obama said that his top priority for the African continent was to help the governments to establish more stable and transparent democracies.
- Many Americans fear that an eruption of violence will occur after Mandela’s death.
- Diana Anderson,is a member of the African Party who arrived outside Mr. Mandela’s house.
Structure and Usage
Directions: The following groups of sentences are from the article. One of the sentences in each group contains a grammatical error. Students are to identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.
- In statement Mr. Obama said he had also spoke by phone with Graça Machel.
- Mr. Mandela’s wife remained by his bedside.
- Madiba draws peace and comfort from the time that he is spending with loved ones.
- The Centre of Memory will be the institution that seeks to keep Mr. Mandela’s legacy alive after he dies.
- One note, left under a tree was addressed to “Madiba,” Mr. Mandela’s clan name.
- We drove across town without have to get permission.
- Mr. Mandela has been ill since being admitted to the hospital three weeks ago.
- His condition turned critical.
- The White House had originally hoped to spotlight the two man together.
III. Post Reading Tasks
Reading Comprehension Check
Directions: Have students use the WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.
Who or What is the article about?
Where does the action/event take place?
When does the action/event take place?
Why did the action/event occur?
How did the action/event occur?
Directions: Place students in groups and have them answer the following questions. After, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the discussion topics.
- The article states that “ President Obama decided against a personal visit with Nelson Mandela.” Since this will probably be the last opportunity to see Mandela, do you think Obama should have tried to obtain a meeting with him? Provide reasons for your answers.
- Nelson Mandela is known (and loved) primarily for his fight against apartheid in South Africa, and for improving race relations and human rights for all people. Do you think the people of South Africa and in other parts of the world will try to maintain his legacy after his death? Provide reasons for your answer.
- According to the article President Obama stated, “…that he does not need “a photo-op” while he is in the country.” Rephrase this comment into your own words.
- Many South Africans fear an “erruption” of violence after Mandela’s death. Provide reasons why people might become violent.
- Explain what you think are the most important ideas in this article and why.
- Choose one of the following topics to research and present to the class.
- Nelson Mandela
- Winnie Mandela
- Evelyn Ntoko Mase
- Graça Machel Mandela
- The African National Congress
- pacifist movement
- Robben Island
IV. Listening Activity
Video Clip: Nelson Mandela a Mini Biography
Introduction: A short documentary about Nelson Mandela and his legacy. Credit: Nelson Mandela Foundation.
While Listening Exercise
Sentence Fill-ins -Multiple Choice
Directions: Students listen for the correct word or phrase to complete the sentences taken from the video. They are to choose from the options presented.
1. Nelson Mandela was born___
a. July 18, 1918.
b. July 19, 1918.
c. July 16, 1918.
2. At the age of ___Mandela began his British education.
3. It was his ___who gave him the name Nelson.
- a. father
- b. mother
- c. teacher
4. It was in ___that Nelson was confronted with the reality of a racially divided South Africa.
- a. 1941
- b. 1942
- c. 1841
5. Nelson began meetings with of the___
- a. African Liberal Committee (ALC)
- b. African National Congress (ANC).
- c. African Literary Congress (ALC).
6. Mandela was___because he publicly spoke out against Apartheid.
- a. awarded
- b. arrested
- c. reprimanded
7. In the 1990s Mandela was released from prison at age___, and the ANC was declared a legal organization.
- a. 61
- b. 70
- c. 71
8. In 1993 the ___was awarded to Mandela for ending apartheid.
- a. The Golden Wreath
- b. Nobel Peace Prize
- c. The African Prize of Peace
9. Mandela was elected as the ___ of South Africa at the age of 75.
- a. president
- b. congressman
- c. senator
10. It was the first time that Africans had voted in more than___years.
- a. 400
- b. 200
- c. 300
Questions for Discussion
Directions:Place students in groups and have them discuss the following questions.
1. After listening to this video has your personal idea of Nelson Mandela changed in any way? If yes, describe in what way. If no, describe your original opinion.
2. Did you learn new information about Mandela? Discuss what you’ve learned.
3. With your group members, make up questions that you would like to ask Mr. Mandela if you had the opportunity. Share your responses with the class.