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The voice of the voiceless

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By Joy Redrup — English coordinator, Lowestoft

This poster features a biography of Desmond Tutu – ‘Champion of the disposed; upholder of truth and justice’. Tutu is a man of the cloth who is a charismatic role model. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, was Chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, holds tremendous influence in the developing South Africa and is an acclaimed figure on the world stage.

Facts about his life are presented in clearly organised sections. You may find it helpful to provide a summary of the recent social and political history of South Africa before using the text.


Shared learning and teaching

Before reading

  • Look at the layout. Are the subtitles useful? Is the paragraph order effective?
  • Discuss the text features and decide the differences between biographical and autobiographical writing.
  • Discuss what the children know already about Tutu then write ten questions, using different question types, to identify what else they would like to find out.

Shared reading

  • Skim read the poster. How useful is it? Comment on the language/note main points. Discuss techniques to make note-taking quicker and more effective.
  • Why does a quotation introduce the text? What does it tell us about Tutu? Why has the author chosen to do this?
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