The Weinstein Company (TWC), backers of the film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, and the Nelson Mandela Foundation are to join forces to introduce Nelson Mandela and the story of South Africa’s transition to democracy to a millions of high school students across America.
Announcing the partnership on Monday, TWC and the foundation said they would be working with the largest school districts and education organisations in the US, including Teach for America, New York City Public Schools, Los Angeles Unified School District and Miami Dade Public Schools, to enable US high school students study the life lessons inherent in Mandela’s story.
The announcement comes ahead of the release of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, the long-awaited big-screen dramatisation of Nelson Mandela’s autobiography.
“Nelson Mandela is not just a symbol of hope and peace the world over; his very success is emblematic of what can be achieved through education,” the film’s producer, Anant Singh, said in a statement.
The US schools programme, the first of its kind, will be supplemented with clips from the film, exclusive primary source materials courtesy of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, and an introduction by former US president George W Bush, the first president to invite Mandela to the White House.
Share My Lesson, a free digital resource for teachers with over 347,000 subscribers, will also play a key role in the distribution of the Mandela curriculum, which is available for download at www.mandelafilm.com and www.sharemylesson.com/mandela.
“There are no words to describe how meaningful it is to us to know that, thousands of miles away, schoolchildren are learning the history of our country and the father of our democracy,” said Sello Hatang, CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
“It is an honour to be a part of this project and to provide US students with access to resources and materials from our archives and work that enable the continuation of a living legacy and learning. We are certain that this is exactly the kind of project Madiba had in mind when he said ‘the future belongs to our youth’.”
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom will open in South African cinemas on 28 November and in movie houses across the US on 29 November. France will be the first European country to release the film, on 18 December.