Nelson Mandela would tell people to 'educate yourselves' about black history, says granddaughter

ITV News Reporter Chloe Keedy sat down with Nelson Mandela's granddaughter Tukwini and spoke to school pupils about why they helped rewrite their curriculum

If Nelson Mandela was still alive, his message would be "educate yourselves, educate yourselves, educate yourselves", the South African anti-apartheid leader's granddaughter said as she highlighted gaps in education about black history.

Tukwini Mandela spoke out to raise awareness of black history on Friday, which marks 32 years since her grandfather was released from prison.

Mandela - who died in December 2013 at the age of 95 - spent 27 years in prison, with the first 18 years spent at the Robben Island prison.

Despite being a significant black historical figure, many people don't know enough about him, his granddaughter said.

Tukwini Mandela said: "I always say that people seem to think my grandfather fell from the sky, that he's this mythical figure with no sense of place but he has a definite sense of place."

She explained his story started before he became a freedom fighter, with her grandfather often speaking about how her great-grandfather had strong ideals of fairness and equality.

She explained: "So these are not new ideals that my grandfather espoused, my grandfather was just given an opportunity to amplify those ideas to the world."

If Nelson Mandela were alive, he would tell school children to 'educate yourselves, educate yourselves, educate yourselves'

Tukwini encouraged adults to take the initiative to educate themselves about histories of diverse communities. She also called on social media platforms to help educate young people.

Asked what her grandfather would say to a class full of history students if he were still alive, she said: "Educate yourselves, educate yourselves, educate youselves.

"My grandfather was a great believer in education, and it wasn't just in formal education either. He would say you must really read books because you can travel far and wide in books, you can learn about other cultures in books in the privacy of your own home."

Mandela 'believed that once we understood each other, understood each others' histories, we could form such beautiful societies'

Speaking about the Black Lives Matter movement, Tukwini said: "He'd be encouraged by organisations like Black Lives Matter but he will still be sad that these things are still happening 32 years after he's released and I think he will just encourage us to do better as human beings.

"My grandfather really believed in humanity, and he really believed in the unity of the races - otherwise, it's not something that he would've stood firmly behind.

"And he believed that once we understood each other, understood each others' histories, we could form such beautiful societies."

But decades of history featuring black people risk being forgotten in the UK.

Less than a third of people in a study by Snapchat's parent company Snap - 32% - recognised famous historical black figures.

Meanwhile, more than half of people - 63% - recognised famous white figures.

Over half of people (53%) feel like they do not know enough about black history and 47% agree the current education system is not doing enough in that area.

Significant moments and black figures in Britain's history don't even make it into the school curriculum, the study found.

Only 23% of people learnt about the civil rights movements in school, 16% learned about apartheid, 7% learned about the Windrush Generation, and 5% learned about Mary Seacole.

Meanwhile, 63% said they were taught about World War Two, 50% learned about Florence Nightingale, 52% learned about vikings and 59% were educated about Henry VIII.

What should be on the curriculum to teach pupils about black British history?

TV and streaming was the most common way people learned about black history - with 43% crediting most of their knowledge to those platforms. 38% learned from the news, and 33% learned from books.

About a fifth (21%) said school was where they found out the most, a similar proportion credited their knowledge to social media.

The death of George Floyd and the racist abuse England's football team endured during the Euros finals have inspired people to get educated.

Snap's research comes as it launches a fully immersive educational lens, using Augmented Reality with Snapchat, to allow users to learn about the hidden black history in London's Trafalgar Square.

Mandela is also being commemorated in Trafalgar Square, where he delivered his iconic 'Make Poverty History' speech in 2005.

Snap's project is in partnership with the Black Cultural Archives.