2. All that Glitters
In this lesson the students complete a work sheet and letter writing exercise based on the Gold Rush at the end of the nineteenth century.
This lesson plan has links to Curriculum aims in History and programmes of study in English.
To understand how the Gold Rush at the end of the nineteenth century has impacted on present day South Africa.
To make links between the actions of white settlers such as the British and Boers between 1886-1902 and the disparity in wealth between white and black South Africans
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In pairs students write down all the items they can think of which come from South Africa. Feedback to the class. Have any of them noted down diamonds or gold? Explain that one area of South Africa was the largest gold producer in the world. Does the class think that South Africa is a wealthy country now? Why/Why not?
Elicit from the class the meaning of the statement “All that glitters is not gold”. Read through the information sheet as a class, identifying the different areas in South Africa which were ruled over by the Boers and British. Explain that South Africa as we know it did not exist before 1910. South Africa was split into small states ruled by the British (Cape Colony and Natal) and the Boers (Transvaal and the Orange Free State) The Boers were descended from Dutch settlers. The British and Boers were often in conflict, and it was conflict over the gold mines of the Transvaal which was one of the causes of the Boer War in 1899-1902. During the gold rush itself however the governments saw the benefits of working together and developing the mines as a source of wealth to develop their economies.
Students answer the questions after they have read the sheet. Encourage them to make connections between the ways in which African farmers were forced into the gold mines as migrant workers and the poverty faced by many black Africans today. In what ways are they connected? How did the gold rush set up disparity of wealth? How does the statement “All that glitters is not gold” apply to the South African gold rush?
Ask students to complete the exercise by writing the letter from an African farmer, using the writing frame if needed.
Write the following words/phrases on the board. Tell students that these are all answers. Can the students write the questions?
• The discovery of gold in the Transvaal in 1886
• Improved transport links between the gold mines and the rest of South Africa