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In Cape Town, much of the Cape Flats was once covered by seasonal wetlands. Very few people lived in these areas in

t h e p a s t , b e c a u s e t h e w e t c o n d i t i o n s i n w i n t e r w e r e u n p l e a s a n t a n d u n h e a l t h y . C a p e T o w n s p o p u l a t i o n h a s g r o w n v e r y

rapidly since the 1980s and the Cape Flats are now almost completely developed, including areas of seasonal wetlands.

In this activity learners will consider the implications of development in these areas of the Cape Flats.



Learning Outcome 2:

Geographical Knowledge and Understanding The learner will be able to demonstrate geographical and environmental knowledge and understanding. Assessment Standards

  • Describes and explains how natural hazards (e.g. flooding) occur, and their impact on human lives and socio-economic activities [people and places].

  • Investigates and explains why some people face a higher risk than others with respect to natural hazards [people and resources].

  • Identifies how risks and hazards can be managed [people and the environment].

Knowledge Focus

  • Natural hazards (e.g. floods): simple explanations of how natural hazards occur; the impact of hazards on people’s

lives; why some people are at greater risk than others; who is at risk; management of risks and risk reduction.

  • Population growth and change: factors and processes affecting population growth and change.

  • Mapwork: extracting information from maps and photos.

Learning Activity 1: Wetlands on the Cape Flats

  • In Module 3: A brief human history, find the maps showing when different parts of Cape Town developed. Which areas were inhabited first? When did people start living on the Cape Flats?

  • Discuss why it took people so long to start living on the Cape Flats (Note to the

teacher: driftsands, little grazing, many wetlands in winter). Read the section on Wetlands in Module 2: Four lowland ecosystems. Find information in your text book about how wetlands form. Explain in your own words how seasonal wetlands form on the Cape Flats. L a b e l t h e f o l l o w i n g w e t l a n d s o n a p r i n t e d c o p y o f t h e m a p o f C a p e T o w n s e c o s y s t e m s Princess Vlei, Rietvlei, Rondevlei, Zandvlei, Zeekoevlei, Zoarvlei. These are now permanent water bodies due to urban development. :

Assessment tasks and tools

  • Educator assesses individual explanations of how seasonal wetlands form.

  • Check that learners have labelled the wetlands on their map correctly.

Learning Activity 2: Understanding flooding on the Cape Flats

  • Read the City of Cape Town’s media release on winter floods. If your school has Internet access, learners can download it from the following address: www.capetown.gov.za/press/Newpress.asp?itemcode=1654. We have provided a text version in this lesson plan, for those without Internet access.

  • With the help of the teacher, discuss how urban development in Cape Town has changed the nature of rivers and wetlands, increased the risk of flooding, impacted on the natural environment and increased health risks among people living on the Cape Flats (e.g. TB, diarrhoea)

Assessment tasks and tools

  • Assess individual written explanations of how urban development can increase the risk of flooding.


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