Chris Lubbe, the ex-bodyguard of the former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, paid a visit to St John Plessington Catholic College in Bebington, which left the students captivated.
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’.
During the discussion, Chris shared his life experiences, including growing up in South Africa during the apartheid era, his work as Nelson Mandela’s bodyguard, and everything that followed. Having witnessed the brutality and discrimination firsthand, he used storytelling to take the students on a journey and emphasize the significance of speaking up.
After hearing his inspiring tale and messages of hope and forgiveness, students had the chance to have a more personal conversation with Chris and inquire about his life and career, as well as take pictures with him.
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.
At SJP, the curriculum includes ongoing initiatives that delve into the concepts of racism, prejudice, and discrimination, their various forms, and why they are unacceptable. The school’s mission is to be a Catholic college that values each individual greatly, and where showing care and compassion towards others is at the forefront of its endeavours.
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.”