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Do you know when your family (or your parents’ families) first came to Cape Town? Where did your ancestors come from? Were they first peoples (San), or did they come from other parts of South Africa or the African continent? Do you have

European or Asian roots, or did your ancestors arrive from the Americas, Madagascar or Australia? In this activity, learners

will do historical research on their own families, using sources of evidence available to them. This lesson could relate to any section of the History curriculum that deals with people living or settling at the Cape.


Grade 7 and 8

Learning Outcome 1:

Historical Enquiry The learner will be able to use enquiry skills to investigate the past and present. Assessment Standards

  • Identifies and selects a variety of historical sources relevant to an enquiry [finds sources].

  • Compiles and organises information from a number of sources to obtain evidence about aspects of the past [works with sources].

  • Evaluates the sources used [works with sources].

  • Uses the information from sources to present well-thought-out answers to questions [answers the question].

  • Communicates knowledge and understanding by constructing own interpretation and argument based on the historical sources; uses information technology where available and appropriate [communicates the answer].

Learning Outcome 2:

Historical Knowledge and Understanding The learner will be able to demonstrate historical knowledge and understanding.

  • Describes and makes links between reasons for and results of key events and changes [cause and effect].

  • Explains changes in a wider historical and environmental context (change and continuity).

Learning Activity 1: Where is the evidence?

  • In class, share a few interesting stories about your ancestors or older relatives.

  • Discuss what types of evidence of family history you have in your home

    • (e.

      g. oral traditions, anecdotal stories, old photographs, family trees, official documents, letters, memoirs, etc.).

  • You will do research to find out how you came to be living in Cape Town. Discuss what aspects of family history you will research (e.g. find out when your family first settled in Cape Town and why they came here. What factors (natural resources, social, political, economic) made them settle here or leave their previous home?

  • Draw up a list of questions to guide your research. You could use the mind-map (below) to help you generate questions in class. Otherwise, use the worksheet provided.

  • For homework, draw up a list of sources of evidence available to you. Indicate which source(s) of evidence you will use and why.

Assessment tasks and tools

  • Educator checks learners’ research questions and gives feedback.

  • Educator assesses the list of sources of evidence chosen to make sure that they are appropriate, reliable and sufficient.


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