Wirral students inspired by visit from Mandela’s former bodyguard

Recently, students at St John Plessington Catholic College, Bebington, Wirral, were enthralled with a visit from Chris Lubbe, the former bodyguard of South African activist and politician, Nelson Mandela.  

The school invited Chris to speak to all year groups following their work in personal development sessions regarding the theme ‘Show Racism the Red Card’.  

He discussed his personal life, including what it was like growing up in South Africa during apartheid, his time working as Nelson Mandela’s bodyguard and everything following.  

Students listened as Chris Lubbe spoke

Having witnessed such brutality and discrimination first-hand through these experiences, Chris used storytelling to take students on a journey and demonstrate the importance of speaking up.   

After listening to his incredible story and messages of hope and forgiveness, students had the opportunity to speak to Chris on a more personal basis and ask further questions about his life and career as well as take photos together.  

All year groups left the talks feeling both very inspired and encouraged to make a positive impact in society. They were also able to apply what they had learnt in their learning.  

Throughout the curriculum at SJP, students are participating in ongoing work which explores what racism, prejudice and discrimination are, what forms exist and why it is wrong. It is the school’s mission to be a Catholic College where every individual is highly valued and where care and concern for others is central to its work.  

Matthew Jones, the personal development coordinator at St John Plessington Catholic College, said: “We feel really lucky to have had Chris speak to our pupils.  

“As a school, we are passionate about anti-discrimination education and know that our pupils felt that this experience was greatly beneficial.”  

Acting headteacher at the school, Peadar McLoughlin, commented: “It was a delight to welcome Chris to our school. Everything we do at SJP is guided by Gospel values of love, justice, faith, service and integrity, and he embodied just that.  

“It’s important for our students to have discussions about these issues and for them to learn about it first-hand from guest speakers brings a whole new level of understanding.”  

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