CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers - Remembering Apartheid: Interviews with South African and Canadian Personalities

History, Political Science
2 to 3 lessons
To understand the viewpoint of an individual involved in a political struggle
Students role-play interviews with some of the main figures involved in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa.

Lesson Plan

Before Exploring


Have students share their experiences viewing interviews with significant political figures, either Canadian or from other countries, on television. Have them discuss what information they think can be obtained from such a television format and what factors they think constitute a successful interview with a public figure.

Invite students to watch, for a week, a news program that includes interviews with public figures. Have them keep a journal of the interviews, recording the following information:

date, time, and television channel or network on which the interview was broadcast

name and background of the personality interviewed

name and background of the television interviewer

topics and/or questions raised during the interview

information learned from watching the interview

responses and reactions to the interview

effectiveness of the interview

Have students bring their journals to class and present their responses and findings.

Outline the Opportunity

Inform students that they are going to prepare and present a role-play interview between a CBC television interviewer and a major figure who participated in the struggle against apartheid, either in South Africa or Canada. Have them work in pairs, with one student assuming the role of the interviewer and the other the subject. Students can choose one of the following subjects:


Prime Minister John Diefenbaker

Prime Minister Brian Mulroney

CBC reporter Norman Phillips

author Pierre Berton

ANC leader Nelson Mandela

former South African foreign minister Pik Botha

former South African ambassador Glen Babb

former South African president F.W. de Klerk

South African Bishop Desmond Tutu

Direct students to the topic Canada and the Fight Against Apartheid on the CBC Digital Archives website. Have them browse the site for as long as they need to gather information for their interviews.

Each interview should be approximately five to ten minutes in length, with the interviewer introducing the interviewee, providing some background information about him and his involvement in the apartheid issue, and then asking him questions to which he responds in-role.

If possible, videotape the interviews so that students have the opportunity to review them later.

Revisit and Reflect

Hold a whole-class debriefing discussion. Have students comment on the effectiveness of the interview (for example, were the questions interesting, did the interviewer pressure the subject to answer difficult questions, did the subject respond clearly, did the subject maintain a point of view, was the subject believable, and so on). Ask students to share what they learned from the interviews and their reactions to the individuals interviewed and their role in the struggle against apartheid.


Students can prepare a brief biographical report on the individual they researched for the interview, explaining and evaluating his role in the international struggle against apartheid in South Africa from the 1960s to the 1990s.

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