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Home / For Educators / Films and Lesson Plans / Beat the Drum – South Africa


The Film – Beat the Drum

Beat the Drum is a contemporary South African film about the devastation of HIV / AIDS. It follows a young boy, Musa, who is orphaned after his parents die of the disease. In order to help his grandmother, he leaves his village in KwaZulu, Natal to find his uncle. As he makes the physical journey from his remote village to the urban landscape of Johannesburg, the film follows his emotional quest for survival, understanding, and community.

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Authors: Anne C. Chambers, Andrew Colley, Bengt Johnson, Don Link, Eder Williams, Serena Williams, Laura Wood, Lauren Wright and Laura Zlatos.

The Curriculum Guide – Available FREE

This interdisciplinary curriculum guide for educators based on the film “Beat the Drum” includes 12 lesson plans that cover math, science, language arts, social studies, media literacy, visual arts and specialty areas. It is available FREE in both print and electronic versions.

Lesson Plans

  1. Social Studies | Apartheid and South African History
  2. Social Studies | Pandemics and Epidemics
  3. World History | HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa
  4. Media Literacy | Viewing the Film Beat the Drum
  5. Language Arts | Musa”s Heroic Journey
  6. Cross-Cultural Understanding | Affirmative Action in South Africa
  7. Cultural Studies | Zulu Cultural Traditions
  8. Media Literacy/Service Learning | Beat the Drum in Your Community
  9. Visual Arts | Zulu Basketry: A Tradition of Coiling
  10. Health | Chronic Illness and Disability in the Classroom

Thanks to the generous support through a grant made by The Fledgling Fund, Journeys in Film is proud to provide this complete inter-disciplinary curriculum guide for FREE.

A special thanks to: Cheri W. Goldman, M.Ed., W. David McBrayer, Dr. Stephen Pelton, Pamela Putney, M.S., CNM, Karen Shapiro, Richard Shaw, Kathi Tarantal and Dr. Elaine Thomas, M.D.