Why are there so many wars in Africa? Why is there so much fighting? What’s going on?
A “go-to” answer is that the problem is all caused by ethnic differences. I wrote this lesson after my husband challenged me to reconsider my understanding of the role of ethnicity in African conflicts. The research I did after that convinced me that, while ethnic differences are definitely a major factor, having people of different ethnic groups in a country is not in itself a cause of violence.
This lesson starts with an activity in which students look at the impact that European-drawn borders might have on Africa. This is something I have adapted from a National Geographic activity.
After that, a PowerPoint 22-slide PowerPoint shows students not only the challenges of multi-ethnic populations in African countries but also ways some countries are successfully dealing with those challenges.
Finally, students read a 1½ page article on the reasons many Africans believe it is in their best interest to elect leaders from their own tribal/ethnic groups – and why that is usually a legitimate belief. On the paper with that article, students write five original sentences incorporating ten specific vocabulary terms – two terms already paired on the paper for each sentence.
The suggested assessment is that students write one paragraph on ethnic favoritism, telling what it is and giving three examples of what it can look like.