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Whether an event happened earlier today or three hundred years ago, two people recounting the same event will tell their

stories differently. Our personalities, lifestyles, backgrounds and life experiences shape our points of view. It is not surprising, therefore, that people from as diverse backgrounds as South Africans will interpret history differently. In this activity, learners will have a chance to rewrite an aspect of Cape Town’s history from two very different points of view.


Grade 8

Learning Outcome 3:

Historical Interpretation The learner will be able to interpret aspects of history. Assessment Standards

  • Identifies and gives reasons for the different ways that the past is represented and interpreted [source interpretation].

  • Explains why history is not objective or neutral.

  • Recognises that a sense of identity may influence the way events in the past are interpreted [influence on interpretation].

  • Explains the importance of conserving our natural and cultural heritage [representation of the past].

  • Explains how and why people’s memories of the past might differ [representation of the past].

Core Knowledge and Concepts

  • The experience of colonialism in the nineteenth century

Learning Activity 1: Letters from the past

  • In the section Permanent settlement and expansion in Module 3: A brief human history read the sections A British Colony and Cape Town expands. Select one of these two sections to write about.

  • You will write a personal letter from each of two different people, about the same event mentioned in your chosen section:

    • If you choose the section A British Colony, write a letter from one freed slave to another, and from a German missionary to the Moravian Missionary Society in Germany.

    • If you choose the section Cape Town expands, write a letter from a migrant labourer to his family in the Transkei, and a British engineer employed by the Colonial Service to his brother in England.

  • Get into small groups of four or five learners and share your letters with one another.

Assessment tasks and tools

  • Two letters showing different interpretations of the same historical event.

Learning Activity 2: Subjective memories

  • Answer the questions about historical interpretation in the worksheet provided.

  • Discuss whether or not heritage conservation is necessary.

Assessment tasks and tools

  • Completed worksheet on

historical interpretation.


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