On Friday October the 14th, Lord Peter Hain, the well know former politician and human rights campaigner paid a visit to Treorchy Comprehensive along with Show Racism the Red Card Wales to talk about the roots of apartheid and their relevance to our society today.
Lord Hain recounted his upbringing in South Africa during apartheid and talked about the challenges his parents faced opposing of the racist state, which eventually led to them fleeing the country and coming to Britain.
He also discussed the importance of taking action and speaking out along with the activism he undertook against the South African government from his younger years growing up in the UK and finished by discussing his meeting with Nelson Mandela who he described as “down to earth and someone who always made time for the people around him.”
Noam Devey, Education Officer at Show Racism the Red Card said: “It was fascinating to hear the stories of life in Apartheid South Africa and how people challenged the racist regime.
“It was also a timely reminder that it is also important to tackle racism in our society, and we know from our recent schools report that a shocking number of children and teachers have encountered racism. The reason we run workshops like these is to make sure that we not only challenge racism, but also help the children learn about the mechanisms they can use and access to prevent it.”
The workshop with 6th form pupils studying history at the school went on to relate the racism experienced in South Africa with the current context was set up thanks to grant funding from Hub Cymru Africa, who are supported by the Welsh Government.
One of the pupils who attended the session said: “It was amazing to hear the personal stories of someone who had lived in South Africa during the period of apartheid. I also enjoyed hearing about Lord Peter Hain’s meetings with Nelson Mandela.”
Annabel Cooper, Head of History at Treorchy Comprehensive said: “It was an invaluable experience for the pupils who have been learning all about the history of the time of apartheid in South Africa, having someone who was actively involved with the process and who has first-hand knowledge and experience helped really expand upon and bring to life the reality of this terrible time in South African history.”