Portsmouth youngsters meet Nelson Mandela’s old bodyguard at anti-racism day

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SCHOOLCHILDREN have been learning about the importance of standing up to racism in their community.

In an educational day at Fratton Park, home to Portsmouth FC, 150 pupils took part in a series of workshops organised by Show Racism the Red Card – which uses football as a platform to spread the anti-racism message.

Ex bodyguard, Chris Lubbe and footballer Sylvain Deslandes with pupils from Medina Primary, Cottage Grove Primary, King Richards, Wimbourne and St Johns Catholic Primary school at Victory Lounge, Portsmouth Football Club     ''Picture: Habibur Rahman

Ex bodyguard, Chris Lubbe and footballer Sylvain Deslandes with pupils from Medina Primary, Cottage Grove Primary, King Richards, Wimbourne and St Johns Catholic Primary school at Victory Lounge, Portsmouth Football Club ''Picture: Habibur Rahman

Pupils packed into the Victory Lounge for a number of workshops, followed by an educational video and a talk from Nelson Mandela’s former bodyguard, Chris Lubbe.

Mr Lubbe talked to the pupils about what life was like under apartheid rule, and his experiences growing up as a black man in South Africa.

He said: ‘If you were Asian, coloured or black under Apartheid rule, you did not have the same privileges.

‘Every part of your life was different, and the different race groups were kept apart from one another.

‘All of us were treated really badly.

‘If you are unsure of something being right or wrong you can talk to an adult, but if it is wrong you can never, ever, let that go – you have to challenge it.’

Clare Martin, director of community projects at Portsmouth FC, said: ‘We have done this for 17 years now and it has evolved so much.

‘Doing things like this really helps to integrate students and can make a big difference to their teenage years.

‘This is the age where these young people are open enough to talk about it and realise that there’s right and wrong everywhere you go.

‘The children in Portsmouth are absolutely brilliant for stuff like this. The response from them now is quite distinctive.

‘They are a lot more aware of hate crimes going on around them and are much more informed about how to deal with it.

‘The schools themselves are also very diverse, and it is great that these children are so understanding of one another.

Sue Castillon, director of Alps Accredited Learning, said: ‘It is fantastic to have so many children here at this event.

‘From here we have can develop a course from what Show Racism the Red Card, which means we can take this one-off event and use it to further tackle racism and hate crime in Portsmouth.’