Futurecasting Cape Town: Too hot to handle? Tackling heatwaves in Cape Town

Conversations to visualise the future
Friday, 25 February 2022
10:00 – 11:30am

Capetonians cool off at Milnerton Beach during a weekend of record breaking temperatures, January 2022

Extreme heat events are on the rise globally, particularly in cities, as a result of climate change. Heatwaves are expected to increase in frequency and intensity over the next 20 years. Often referred to as the ‘silent killer’, heatwaves are a major threat to human life and wellbeing. According to research undertaken by C40 Cities, an international network of cities, “heatwaves are the deadliest of all climate risks”.

By 2050, around 970 cities will live with average high temperatures of at least 35°C, with much higher temperatures in Asia, Africa and North America. Indeed, the City of Cape Town projects that between now and 2050, residents will experience 20 additional heatwave days per year, with record breaking temperatures in January offering a foretaste of what’s to come. Group Yet making this issue visible is complex given the many other climate-related challenges being seen, including drought, flooding and fires. As with other African cities, underlying stresses such as unemployment, poverty and inequality will only increase vulnerability to and exacerbate and worsen the effects of heatwaves.

This event will address the impact of heatwaves on human health, climate projections and the local economy. Speakers will share experiences and responses being used locally and in other cities with similar conditions, thus providing a platform to surface possible short- and medium-term measures for Cape Town.

Facilitator: Lerato Letebele Balendran, Head of Communications, Centre for Environmental Rights


  • Eleni Myrivili, Chief Heat Officer, Athens, Greece
  • Dr Thandi Kapwata, Senior Scientist: South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) Environment & Health Research Unit, Research Associate: Department of Environmental Health, University of Johannesburg
  • Dr Johan Minnie,  Head: Disaster Operations Centre & Systems Integration, City of Cape Town Disaster Management Centre
  • Jo Anderson, Research & Knowledge Management Coordinator, Green Building Council SA (GBCSA)

About the Futurecasting Cape Town series

Futurecasting is a well-established approach to model the future and anticipate changes in a sector or society in the coming 10 to 15 years. It combines past patterns and trends with current insights and includes futures thinking to help shape the future and mitigate any possible risks.

The Futurecasting Cape Town series, convened by the City of Cape Town’s Resilience Department with support from the Western Cape Economic Development Partnership (EDP) provides an opportunity to model the future around critical issues facing Cape Town and influence decisions that will reflect shared values and drive innovation. The series underscores a key element of the City of Cape Town’s Resilience Strategy towards collaborative partnering with business to support resilience. Speakers from across sectors are invited to share insights and ideas for a common inclusive and resilient future.