3 heads are better than 1: MYdiba
Photo Credit: Babak Fakhamzadeh via Compfight

(Also, see The Best Resources Honoring Nelson Mandela At His Passing….)

We teach a unit on Nelson Mandela in our mainstream ninth-grade English classes (which also include many English Language Learners).  Since yesterday was his 91st birthday, I thought I’d quickly pull together a “The Best…” list of accessible sites about him.

Here are my choices for The Best Sites For Learning About Nelson Mandela:

The BBC has an excellent multimedia timeline of Mandela’s life.

The Biography Channel has some good Mandela resources.

CNN has a huge number of resources on Mandela.

U.N. Creates Nelson Mandela Day
is a new lesson from Breaking News English.

I’m sure most people are aware of the movie “Invictus,” starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon, that portrays Nelson Mandela’s effort to help unite his country through a rugby team’s effort to win the world championship. There’s an excellent clip from the movie that highlights Mandela’s recognition of the importance of unity and reconciliation (portrayed by Morgan Freeman). It’s on the Wall Street Journal’s website, and is less than two minutes.

Mandela’s leadership lessons is from TIME.

Bikers on a drive to do good for Mandela’s birthday is from CNN.

In pictures: Nelson Mandela marks 93rd birthday is from the BBC.

Here’s Mandela’s first television interview. You can learn more about it at Open Culture.

South Africa under apartheid in the 1970s is an audio slideshow from the BBC with some excellent photos.

Facing The Truth is the name of a Bill Moyers documentary on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission begun in South Africa after the end of apartheid. We spend some time on the Commission in our ninth-grade unit on Nelson Mandela, so I’m adding it to list. Here’s a short clip from it:

Here’s a link to another clip from the same documentary.

Nelson Mandela recently turned 94 and, as The Telegraph explains:

July 18 is marked as International Nelson Mandela Day, a UN-backed event, when people around the world but particularly in South Africa are asked to spend 67 minutes of their time on day to helping their fellow people in recognition of Mr Mandela’s 67 years of public service.

This short video shows how Nelson Mandela might have written about his life if social media had been around. A video like could be a great model for students to see before they would do a similar project on a famous figure — whether they would create it out of pen and paper or use one of the tools on The Best Tools For Creating Fake “Stuff” For Learning list.

It could be a great “pre-essay” writing activity to help students get their info organized, and it could also serve as a fun way for students to to feel motivated to want to get more “touches” on materials they’ve already read.

Mandela: An Audio Timeline is from Radio Diaries.

A Fighter With a Camera in Apartheid-Era South Africa is a New York Times slideshow.

Here’s a short, touching NY Times video on the life of a child going to school in South Africa.

Mandela: His 8 Lessons of Leadership is an exceptional piece from TIME that appeared in 2008.

CNN and, of all groups, BuzzFeed, came up with well-done video. I’m not sure that these are the 7 most important things that I would one can learn from Nelson Mandela’s life, but it can also be used as a good model for a student project about any person:

The Day Nelson Mandela Walked Out Of Prison is from NPR.

And The History Channel also has a collection

CNN has a useful updated timeline of Mandela’s life.

Nelson Mandela’s Prison Adventures is from NPR.

Obama Visits Prison Cell That Helped Shape Modern South Africa
is from The New York Times.

Here’s a good NY Times video on Robben Island.

It was news to me, but a movie adaptation of Nelson Mandela’s autobiography is coming out in the fall and it has “Oscar-buzz” already.

Here’s the trailer that was just released:

Here’s a video from UNICEF:

From Prisoner to President: Mandela’s Impact on the World is a slideshow from the PBS News Hour.

Happy Birthday, Madiba! South Africa Honors 95-Year-Old Nelson Mandela is also from the PBS News Hour.

Mandela’s Birthday and Trayvon Martin’s Loss is from The New Yorker.

Nelson Mandela — Video Listening Comprehension Exercise is from ESOL Courses.

Another Good Writing Prompt: Reconciliation

Mandela Day is a nice lesson from The British Council.

Wow, this PBS News Hour segment on the former South Africa minister in charge of violently enforcing apartheid laws is fascinating. I’ll sure be showing it when we teach our ninth-grade unit on Nelson Mandela. I’ll be asking students if they think he deserves forgiveness and why or why not:

Video On Apartheid & Forgiveness – Plus An Accompanying Writing Prompt


New & Impressive Resources On Nelson Mandela From The NY Times

Video & Transcript: Obama’s Speech At Mandela Annual Lecture

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights has created a Fighting Apartheid with Posters site where users can create anti-apartheid posters that are included in an online gallery. It’s pretty simple, and would be a nice activity for our students to do when we’re studying Nelson Mandela’s life.

Robben Island Virtual Tour

Suggestions and feedback are always welcome.

If you found post useful, you might want to look at previous “The Best…” lists and also consider subscribing to blog for free.