Comprehension, Vocabulary Development, Formal Letter Writing Sample

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On the 18 July 1918, in a small village in South Africa, a great leader was born.

His real name was ‘Rolihlahla’ which means ‘troublemaker’ in the language of his tribe. When he went to school, his teacher gave him the name Nelson. Nobody knew what the future held for the little boy and how he would grow up to change the world.


When Nelson was growing up, South Africa was ruled only by white people. They ruled by a system called apartheid, or separateness. This meant that black and white people were separated and could not go on the same bus, to the same shops, schools or hospitals. White people had the best schools, the best hospitals and the best jobs. As a result, the black people were poorer and less healthy.


Working for change.

Nelson and his friends wanted to change all this. Nelson trained as a lawyer. He organized large peaceful protests against the South African government, which refused to recognize the rights of non-whites. His peaceful protests were met with violence. Many of his friends were killed or imprisoned too. He stayed in prison for 26 years, refusing to give in to his captors. In 1990, he was released and became the first president of a free South Africa in 1994.

Today, South Africa is a democracy, which means that adults choose who they want to run the country. It wasn’t always so, Nelson Mandela changed all that, but it was a hard struggle, and one that had cost him his own freedom for many years.



  1. What did Nelson’s real name mean?
  2. What did Nelson Mandela have in common with Ghandi? Which two statements are true?
  • Mandela and Ghandi were born in India.
  • They both went to prison for their beliefs and actions.
  • Mandela and Ghandi acted peacefully to protest about lack of freedom.
  • Both men are still alive today.

3. Explain in your own words what ‘apartheid’ means.

4. Line 19 says ‘peaceful protests were met with violence.’ What do you think this means and why was there              violence?




Let us learn some words from our passage.


Apartheid… A political system in which only some people have full political rights, such as white people in South Africa.


Democracy… A system of government in which all the people can vote to elect their representatives.


Tribe… A group of people who live together and are ruled by a chief.


Protest… A statement or action expressing disapproval of or objection to come.






We will be writing a letter to your school headteacher. Let us assume you are writing this letter on behalf of your parents to complain about something.

Come with me.

Flat 1, blk R,

Goodness Estate,


23rd Nov, 2018.

The School Headteacher,

Santa Lucia School,



Dear Sir,


I, Mrs. Glory write to show my displeasure about the transportation system of your school.

Last month, on the 16th, I waited for two hours expecting the school bus to bring my daughter home. I was disturbed and so I placed a call through to the driver, but he didn’t take my call. Two times this month, my daughter came home to show me the scratch she had, which was a result of the reckless driving of the driver.

I would really love you to look into this matter quickly else, I would withdraw my child from your school. Thank you.


Yours  faithfully,


Grace Glory.







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