To be shocked that 16 year old didn't know about apartheid

(507 Posts)
biddlybop Thu 28-Oct-21 09:12:51

Recently, I was having a conversation with a teen in the family and mentioned apartheid (think we were talking about films and books based on true events). They asked what apartheid was. I explained, and they had never heard of it.

I was genuinely shocked. We were taught about it in school - in both history, and English. I'm 30, so I wasn't educated decades ago.

Is this not in the curriculum anymore, or is it just her school? I think it's really important that young people are taught about these events, especially as racism is still such a problem.

OP’s posts: |
Porcupineintherough Thu 28-Oct-21 09:15:06

Mine were taught a little about it in school. But not that much and in KS2 so not unsurprisingly many may have forgotten about it by 16.

bonfireheart Thu 28-Oct-21 09:15:07

My DD is 13 and was taught about apartheid and slavery at school.

Lockheart Thu 28-Oct-21 09:22:47

I'm in my 30s and I don't recall being taught about apartheid or slavery.

We were mostly taught about WW1 and 2, and the Russian Revolution.

LindaEllen Thu 28-Oct-21 09:26:28

There are lots of things, huge huge events, that you don't know about either. You only know about what you've been taught about - and from a Western perspective. I don't necessarily thing it's shocking that a 16yo doesn't know about apartheid. In fact, how much do you know about it? Do you know the details or do you just know about the basic act of segregation? Because it goes SO much deeper than that.

olivehater Thu 28-Oct-21 09:27:21

Late 30s. Don’t recall being taught about apartheid at school. It’s amazing what people who don’t read don’t know about.
I was sat in my hairdressers talking about my holiday and said we had visited Stonehenge.
My hairdressers and two of the other girls that were chatting didn’t know what it was.

ErickBroch Thu 28-Oct-21 09:28:00

I am late 20s, south-east of England, never taught anything in history other than WW1 and WW2 basically. At GCSE I did medicine throughout time, JFK, American West.

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BluebellsGreenbells Thu 28-Oct-21 09:28:24

It’s as much your job to educate them as it is schools. It depends on the exam board and topics the teachers choose to teacher from a set pattern.

MolyHolyGuacamole Thu 28-Oct-21 09:28:42

biddlybop

Recently, I was having a conversation with a teen in the family and mentioned apartheid (think we were talking about films and books based on true events). They asked what apartheid was. I explained, and they had never heard of it.

I was genuinely shocked. We were taught about it in school - in both history, and English. I'm 30, so I wasn't educated decades ago.

Is this not in the curriculum anymore, or is it just her school? I think it's really important that young people are taught about these events, especially as racism is still such a problem.


I met a woman, a teacher at that, from Canada who was born in the 80s, lived in a house with South Africans and had never heard of it confused

In the end she turned out to be rather dim and shallow, so no big surprise she didn't know about anything that didn't directly affect her.

PolkadotsAndMoonbeams Thu 28-Oct-21 09:28:44

We talked about it in PHSCE, but it wasn't formally taught.

The closest we studied in history was the slave trade and the abolition of slavery in the British Empire.

MolyHolyGuacamole Thu 28-Oct-21 09:29:52

Lockheart

I'm in my 30s and I don't recall being taught about apartheid or slavery.

We were mostly taught about WW1 and 2, and the Russian Revolution.


But did you KNOW about it? It wasn't taught in my curriculum at school (Caribbean, although it did heavily feature slavery), but I did know about it. You don't learn everything in school

HelpSendGin Thu 28-Oct-21 09:30:41

The history curriculum was changed for primary schools and so only covers European history in chronological order from the stone age. There are parts where people could cover it using comparisons, during black history month, or when studying a significant individual however this is at the discretion of the school and their curriculum design.

Don't get me started on the secondary literature texts....

Aroundtheworldin80moves Thu 28-Oct-21 09:30:42

Schools can't teach everything (especially in subjects like history where children could give it up in yr9 or 10)

What is important is knowing how to find things out. And we are privileged now that many of us carry around an encyclopedia in our pocket.

BurntO Thu 28-Oct-21 09:30:51

I was never taught about it in school and I’m not 30 yet

MolyHolyGuacamole Thu 28-Oct-21 09:31:18

We also didn't learn about WWII and the genocide, but I still knew about it, even read Anne Frank as a young teen

WhiskyXray Thu 28-Oct-21 09:31:31

My KS2 child learnt about it. "Journey to Joburg" was a set text and a discussion of apartheid accompanied that. They have also learnt a lot about famous black people for Black History Month, albeit with a weirdly American focus- Rosa Parks, MLK, Michelle Obama and others.

stalkersaga Thu 28-Oct-21 09:32:32

I wasn't taught about apartheid at school - we covered other topics in history. What I know about it I learned from wider reading/viewing, and it's just scratching the surface really.

No curriculum can cover everything, and as a PP observed history curricula are still very biased, generally white and Western.

BeautifulBirds Thu 28-Oct-21 09:32:49

Didn't learn about it in school, history was medicine and American Indians.

Lockheart Thu 28-Oct-21 09:32:50

@MolyHolyGuacamole I worked as a museum curator for many years, believe me, I know about slavery and apartheid.

I was responding to OPs specific question about it not being taught in schools.

Montsti Thu 28-Oct-21 09:34:12

I was never taught about apartheid at school but that a few decades ago in the UK …

My son has only just officially been taught about it and he has just turned 12 but we do live in South Africa so it’s a very relevant part of the history here…

Charles11 Thu 28-Oct-21 09:34:34

My Dc have been taught about apartheid. They’re 16 and under.
I remember ds1 was very confused and appalled by it when he learnt about it in primary school and said ‘there was a party and black people weren’t allowed to sit next to white people!’ I got to the bottom of his confusion, figured out what he was learning and then helped him to understand what was going on.

Blurryeyedbeast Thu 28-Oct-21 09:34:41

I'm late 30s. Had no idea what it was until early 20s. It wasn't taught at school and I didn't know what the word meant until much later

biddlybop Thu 28-Oct-21 09:35:24

I actually think we did more about it in English than history. Poems and literature written about apartheid.

There are lots of things, huge huge events, that you don't know about either. You only know about what you've been taught about - and from a Western perspective. I don't necessarily thing it's shocking that a 16yo doesn't know about apartheid. In fact, how much do you know about it? Do you know the details or do you just know about the basic act of segregation? Because it goes SO much deeper than that.

I'm sure there are, but does that mean we shouldn't teach about any events or acts of inequality just because we can't teach all of them? Whether I'm from a Western country or not. Regardless of my personal culture, to be able to understand the experiences of others, I need to learn about the injustices that they have faced and still face in many situations today. Otherwise how can we campaign against them?

OP’s posts: |
SolasAnla Thu 28-Oct-21 09:37:03

olivehater

Late 30s. Don’t recall being taught about apartheid at school. It’s amazing what people who don’t read don’t know about.
I was sat in my hairdressers talking about my holiday and said we had visited Stonehenge.
My hairdressers and two of the other girls that were chatting didn’t know what it was.

Its about what is lived history and what has to be taught

If I said that famous music act refused to play Sun City

Or talked about Mandela being in jail

Would you know have seen real time media reports?

DeathMetalMum Thu 28-Oct-21 09:38:26

In my 30's and I don't recall we did it in history. We did WW1 and WW2 a million times the Romans, Egyptians, Slavery in Britain and I remember studying the Titanic for ages. History was never my preferred subject though I think I often completely switched off in class.

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