Sheffield and Anti-Apartheid in South Africa – new lesson plan

February 14, 2024

Sheffield and Anti-Apartheid in South Africa

Helen Griffin, DECSY Global Learning Advisor, remembers Mark Hutchinson (1960 – 2023)

The latest lesson plan to be posted onto our Non-Violent Action: A Force for Change materials is one developed and used by the late Mark Hutchinson (1960-2023) who worked closely with DECSY over many years. Mark was among many other things, a deeply respected history teacher at High Storrs Secondary in Sheffield. He worked with us as a teacher supporting and advising on curriculum development projects for 26 years. First becoming involved in Developing Rights and then through peer mediation work at High Storrs culminating in the Ghana Peer Mediation exchange project and indirectly in the foundation of CRESST. We worked with him on the Journey to Justice Sheffield project in 2016 and finally on the Non-Violent Action: A Force for Change project which began in 2019 and continues to this day. Mark wrote the lessons on The White Rose movement in Germany during WW11 supporting teachers with implementing them.

Sadly Mark passed away before the Sheffield and Anti-Apartheid in South Africa lesson was published on the website but we worked with the lesson plan and materials that he had developed and used with history students at High Storrs and have now published them. 

Mark had extensive and in-depth knowledge of Sheffield Black history and of Sheffield’s history of campaigning and solidarity with oppressed peoples from across the world. Here is a video of his last public talk on the subject. The Sheffield anti-apartheid in South Africa movement in the 1980s is an example of groups of people (and city councils) across the UK getting involved in boycotting and disinvestment in solidarity with the struggle for equality in South Africa and provides a case study that could be used in other places.

The lesson itself uses source material to enable students to begin to understand the background to apartheid in South Africa, a particular event in Sheffield, the staging of Funny Girl with Marti Caine and the protests around this and the general anti-apartheid movement in Sheffield. Students are encouraged to critically explore the source material in small groups to piece together some of the story and reflect on the efficacy of the actions. In his teaching, Mark was always dedicated to presenting different sides of a story, helping students to question their own assumptions as well as drawing on their own experiences to enable engagement.  We think that this lesson plan reflects these aims and complements the other case study lesson plans in the programme.

We are deeply grateful for the support and wisdom that Mark offered DECSY over the years and wish his family well over the coming months and years.

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