Mandela’s Life and Developing a Historical Timeline or Story Map

Developer’s Name:

Anneke McCabe, Ph.D. Candidate, M.Ed., B.Ed., B.Mus.


Grades 7 & 8

Lesson Description:

This lesson activates and responds to “sensitive issues of race, how they were directly upheld by racism, oppression, dominance, and segregation” (Mogadime, 2021, p. 10). The learning in this lesson is scaffolded when you engage with reflecting on the oral story telling of Nelson Mandela’s narrative and historical events in the previous lesson. Students can use a digital timeline story mapping tool (such as ESRI) to aid in reflecting and connecting to significant events in Nelson Mandela’s life. As students construct a historical timeline individually or in partners, they will learn how to communicate the Struggle for Freedom in South Africa. By creating, sharing, and presenting a narrative timeline that focuses on critical historical events, students will have the opportunity to express “the lack of fairness and oppression that was suffered by human beings because of Apartheid” (Mogadime, 2021, p. 10). ESRI story mapping tool is used as a suggested example. If this specific digital timeline/story mapping tool does not work for your learners, choose a tool that best suits the needs of your classroom and your school board’s privacy policy.

Lesson Objectives:

  • Develop historical timelines that document significant events in Nelson Mandela’s life focusing on equal rights, protest, and racism, racial segregation by learning about Apartheid (Mogadime, 2019).
  • Students will create historical individual timelines or story map that communicate the history of South Africa while representing a reflection of each student’s learning concerning the realities of lives lived under apartheid, therefore timelines may include the acts of racial violence, and the pain of trauma.
  • Students will reflect on Global Economic Development in South Africa and quality of life, through Nelson Mandela’s life’s work and story.

Relevant Ontario Curriculum:

Critical Literacy: Reading, Writing, Media, and Oral Communication

  • Create historical timelines or story maps individually or working in pairs and compare quality of life with respect to South Africa and other countries, compare Nelson Mandela’s life to your own, reflect on the narrative of South Africa.
  • Through conference and discussions reflect on reading skills and strategies used while reading decide what events are most significant for the historical timeline / story map.
  • Gather and organize information for the timeline or story map from a variety of sources that investigate apartheid and significant events in Nelson Mandela’s life.
  • Evaluate evidence and draw conclusions about issues related to the struggle in South Africa according to what you are learning by constructing the timeline, through reflective class discussions on Apartheid (Mogadime, 2019), protest, racism, equal rights, racial segregation, and the strength of people and analyze how various factors, including Apartheid, have affected colonial legacy and the economy of South Africa.

Relevant Ontario Curriculum Documents

Human Rights Instruments:

Universal Declaration of Human Rights. United Nations, 1948

  • Article 3 – Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person.
  • Article 4 – No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.
  • Article 5 – No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.


Please review Teaching Nelson Mandela Teacher Tools:

  1. Definition of Terms & Responding to Readings about Apartheid – Racism, Oppression, Trauma and Torture (Mogadime, 2021)
  2. Teaching Nelson Mandela: African Epistemology Stages of Learning – ARCC
  3. Teaching Nelson Mandela’s Biography: A Lens for Studying Life Stories
    *Consult with your School Board for permission to use websites

Lesson Plan Details by Stages of African Epistemology:





Anneke’s Lesson 3 Extension: Zoom in – Zoom Out – Zoom About

Continue to support discussions through guided exploration in student-teacher conferences. Students will begin to arrive at a better understanding through the “Critical Community Conversations” (Mogadime, 2021, p. 10).

Zoom-In to the student’s historical timelines and/ or story maps and continue to share significant and important events that contribute to the narrative of South Africa and Apartheid (Mogadime, 2019) with the whole class. As you discuss significant events of the timeline reflect on courage, character, resilience, and spirit.

Zoom-Out of the student’s historical timelines and/ or story maps and guide discussions centered on identity in conferences with teacher and peers, as well as class wide discussions. Discuss how we connect what we are learning about South Africa to life in Canada and individual identities. Keep Ubuntu at the forefront of the discussions. According to Mogadime an “Ubuntu teaching and learning process is holistic in that it integrates spirituality, interdependence and unity.” (Mogadime, 2021, p. 10). Use student reflections about Ubuntu to deepen conversations as students develop a moral conscience in conversation with one another.

Zoom About, as the peer group interacts during guided discussions this can lead to action and responses about Human Rights and quality of life. Use the feedback you have received from the conferences to help next steps as students may want to take their learning to impact a greater change within the school community, and Global community. Think globally and act locally. Encourage students to defend Human Rights embracing a glocal perspective.



  • Mogadime, D. (2021). “Responding to Readings about Apartheid – Racism, Oppression, Trauma and Torture” (p.10 – 11). In Mogadime, D. (TNM Advisory Group Chair and Project Lead) with Senior Advisory Members, Anneke McCabe, Sally Hooper and Sherilyn Lehn. Teaching Nelson Mandela: Learning Experiences and Lessons to Support Grade 7-12 Classrooms. Canadian Museum for Human Rights, EPublication.
  • Mogadime, D. (2019). Caroline Goodie Tshabalala Mogadime: A South African Canadian activist educator. In Isabel Masson (Ed). Mandela Struggle for Freedom (pp. 160-171). Winnipeg: Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Accessed October 18, 2022: uploads/2021/06/Mandela-Book-Design-Mandela-%E2%80%93-Struggle-For-Freedom-Book- Consumer-Publication-Design-735.pdf
  • Nations, U. (1948). Universal Declaration of Human Rights by United Nations. United Nations General Assembly.
  • Ontario Ministry of Education. (2006). Ontario Curriculum Grades 1 – 8 Language. [revised]. Retrieved from
  • Ontario Ministry of Education. (2018). Social Studies Curriculum Grades 1 – 6, History Geography Grades Curriculum 7 & 8. [revised]. Retrieved from


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Mandela Global Human Rights: Peace, Reconciliation and Responsibility Copyright © by Dolana Mogadime (Ed.) Project Lead is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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