Apartheid Divisions

By Warren Boardman-Smith

See how Warren teaches Grade 6 & 7 Social Science at Western Province Preparatory School by taking students on excursions around Cape Town. 

Warren's students created a custom Google MyMap on which they plotted the socio-economic divisions created by, and during Apartheid. The map was analysed and a discussion of their observations noted in the Google Classroom. This is an important lesson to understand different socio-economic challenges and the legacy of apartheid still live with today.

The vision

The vision

After 19 years of teaching high school Geography, I was frustrated by the fact that new Grade 8s were becoming less and less able to work and think independently. I am trying to make a difference in our prep school - my current mission, to create a space which instills curiosity, critical thinking, and of course, engaged independent learners.

Curriculum standards

The vision

This learning facilitated the development of the following skills identified in CAPS:

History - Change and continuity:

  • Over a period of time, it is possible to contrast what has changed and what has remained the same.
  • Closely related contrasts that are used to teach history are similarity and difference and then and now, which help to make sense of the past and the present.


  • “Places special focus on selected aspects of using and making maps…”
  • “Learners are exposed to a mix of map use and geographical skills along with physical and human geography topics…”
  • Map use should be integrated into topics throughout each grade.
Curriculum standards

Learning journey

The vision

Student activities

The vision


In Social Sciences we combined the study of Apartheid and Settlement under the theme “Where we live”.

Having learnt how Apartheid had created social divisions in SA, as well as having experienced some of these divisions on the tour of the Langa township, I wanted the boys to explore the physical divisions created by Apartheid laws, which remain very evident in our cities today. Our boys also went up Table Mountain to get a view over the city and see the different areas and their characteristics - density, open space, etc.


Boys were required to create a custom Google MyMap on which they plotted the Apartheid group areas (black, coloured and white areas) and highlight the “buffers” used to separate these areas (motorways, railway lines, wetlands, food gardening, etc). Using the “lines and shapes” and "layers" tools they could plot and colour code the various Group Areas and buffers on their map to get a better spatial understanding of the socio-economic divisions created by, and during Apartheid.

The map was finally analysed by each pair, and they were required to submit a discussion of their observations in the Google Classroom.

Sample of Student Creation in MyMaps

Technology used

The vision
  • Chromebooks
  • Google MyMaps
  • Google Classroom
Technology used

What's next?

The vision

I would like to get the students to interview “the people” of our city and add this to their work (maybe with video links to their maps) so that they can gain a deeper understanding of the socio-economic experiences of a range of people, and not just their own.

Closing thoughts

The vision

​"Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change, have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable." 

- William Pollard


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