For this project, we conducted a case between the people of Umuofia vs the British for the death of Okonkwo, who was a leader in the village of Umuofia, which today is Nigeria, Africa. The character Okonkwo is based off a of a book called “Things Fall Apart”, where the story line is not completely true, but the events happening in the story are based off of real life experiences about the Berlin Conference. The British invaded the African’s homes and wanted to “civilize” the people by trying to convert the African’s to their beliefs, and wanted to export all of their sources. Okonkwo did not agree with the British and was willing to fight for his tribe, but in the end Okonkwo killed himself for unknown reasons. So we created a case with the other class, where we were the people of Umuofia trying to convince that the British was guilty for Okonkwo’s death, while the other class was the British.
There was many roles that played an important part, mine being the juror. While the other class mates composed their testimonies and such, the jurors contributed by created posters and flyers to get the word out about the trial. As an individual, I created four or five out of the nine posters about the characters in the book so the audience could get a better understanding of what the witnesses were like. Another job the juror had, was making the final decision of the case from deciding as a group the strongest arguments for each witness. We examined who had a better direct examination, and who compelled a greater cross-examination. During the whole case, we were taking notes and collecting evidence to support our final answer.
As the project progressed, I learned several new skills and also grew on some previous skills. To begin, my talent in photoshop was not that advanced, until my peers helped me learn new tools and create beautiful posters. Learning photoshop is a very important ability that I was happy to advance in during this project. Another experience I learned about was how real court cases are addressed, such as their vocabulary use, their structure (opening statements, direct/cross examinations, etc.), and how the jurors decide. I have always wanted to know how the court system works, and I finally learned. A skill that didn’t go quite well as I wanted during this project was collaborating with my peers. I felt like I could've reached out to the other jurors more and discussed which jobs we should take on, instead of being confused with which tasks should be completed. Overall, I took a lot away from this project, being that we learned so much about African history, court systems, and an incredible book called “Things Fall Apart”. At the beginning of this project, I had no idea how the African borders were created until my knowledge increased by learning about the Berlin Conference. Not only did we learn about the Berlin Conference, but also about how racial categories were created, the Industrial Revolution, Social Darwinism, and much more. Learning about how the Africans were treated by all the invading nationalities, made me think about how cruel human beings can be and how different they are from a hundred years ago. Even though there is still racism occurring, we have improved majorly since the 1900s and I am so happy about the change.
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