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Englewood Students Learn About Mandela’s Fight For Freedom

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Former South Africa President Nelson Mandela (File photo credit: SIPHIWE SIBEKO/AFP/Getty Images)

Former South Africa President Nelson Mandela (File photo credit: SIPHIWE SIBEKO/AFP/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – As they learn about the life and accomplishments of late South African President Nelson Mandela, students at an Englewood charter school will get a chance to see a new biographical film before it hits theaters later this month.

CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports the film “Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom” will be part of the Chicago International Charter Schools’ Basil elementary school lesson plan about Mandela.

Friday’s curriculum at CICS Basil started with a tribute to Mandela, who died Thursday at the age of 95. Teachers told students how Mandela was forced to rake rocks while he was in prison for 27 years for his fight against apartheid.

Students learned how Mandela went from prisoner to president of a nation, only four years after he was freed.

“I respect that he stood up and tried to help his people get equality,” said 7th grader Naji Spiller.

Mandela’s death has pushed the students at Basil to reflect on the legacy he’s left behind.

“If someone had me in jail for 27 years, it would be so hard to forgive them. And then I became the president, so it’s like I could do whatever I want to do to them, and then he just let it go,” said 8th grader Tia Marshall. “Nelson Mandela was a leader, and he had to be so in peace with himself to just forgive them people.”

Learning about Mandela’s life is important for the students at Basil, because in two weeks, 7th and 8th graders at the school will be the first in Chicago to watch the new biographical film “Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom,” starring Idris Elba.

“It will change the whole outlook on the movie,” Marshall said.

Students will watch the film at a screening on Dec. 19. It opens in theaters nationwide on Christmas Day.

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