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. To help his grandmother, he leaves his village to find his uncle in Johannesburg. As Musa makes the journey from his remote village to the city, the film follows his emotional quest for survival, understanding, and community.


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Product Description

Appropriate for High School students, Beat the Drum, with our corresponding curriculum, offers an opportunity to explore pandemics and epidemics with students. Additionally, it builds global competency. Many of these lessons are stand alone and could be used without viewing the full film.

Film rating: Not rated. Appropriate for high school students because of sexual content.

Film runtime: 1 hour 54 minutes.

Curriculum Guide

Lesson 1: Apartheid and South African History (Social Studies)
Lesson 2: Pandemics and Epidemics (Social Studies)
Lesson 3: HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa (World History)
Lesson 4: Viewing the Film Beat the Drum (Media Literacy)
Lesson 5: Musa’s Heroic Journey (Language Arts)

Post-Viewing Lessons
Lesson 6: Affirmative Action in South Africa (Cross-Cultural Understanding)
Lesson 7: Zulu Cultural Traditions (Cultural Studies)
Lesson 8: Beat the Drum in Your Community (Media Literacy/Service Learning)
Lesson 9: Zulu Basketry: A Tradition of Coiling (Visual Arts)
Lesson 10: Chronic Illness and Disability in the Classroom (Health)

Appendix A: Dealing with Sudden Death: Grief Work in a High School Setting
Appendix B: Books about Disabilities
Appendix C: South Africa Country Profile

Preview Curriculum Guide

How to download your free resources:

1. Click “Add to Cart” (top of page). 2. Click cart icon and select “checkout”. 3. Download your PDF(s).

Journeys in Film supports United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This curriculum guide connects to the following SDGs:

Red background. Number 1 in white in the upper left hand corner. Beside it text reads: No Poverty. Icons, in white clip art style, of adults and children are below the text. Kelly green. White number 3 in the upper left hand side. Text beside it reads Good Health and Well-Being. White art below showing a jagged line and a heart.

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