A forgotten past is the past that is yet to be

evaluation of oral history programme of the Oral History Association of South Africa

Keywords: oral history; Oral History Association of South Africa; oral history programmes


South Africa is one of the few countries in Africa that has a running oral history association. In some countries, especially in southern Africa, these oral history associations have arisen and then died a natural death. For example, Oral Traditions Association of Zimbabwe (OTAZI) did not last long. Therefore, it is a positive development for South Africa to have a functioning oral history association. The Oral History Association of South Africa (OHASA) is the brainchild of the government and is mainly funded by the government. It is involved in the coordination and documentation of stories that were silent during the apartheid era. Therefore, with this highly perceived task it is necessary to critically evaluate its successes and failures in meeting the objectives of the National Oral History Programme (NOHP). This paper, through document analysis and purposively selected interviews, critically evaluates the achievements and shortcomings of the OHASA from its inception to present with the aim of proposing a ‘working’ model which involves the setting up of a monitoring and evaluating system. The paper concludes that although OHASA unveiled the muted marginalised voices, it soral history programme demonstrate elitism in critical emancipatory as mostly the stories of the elites are covered. Furthermore, such recorded stories are not accessible as the recordings are stashed in the boxes in archives repositories.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0376-4753