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The History Workshop

The History Workshop is an interdisciplinary research group of academics mainly drawn from within the social sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand.

Since its inception in 1977, the History Workshop has been promoting research into the lives, experiences and social worlds of people and communities in South Africa that have by and large been neglected by scholarly investigation in order to address the erasures of apartheid and colonial scholarship that wrote South Africa as a story of white progress.

A second guiding concern for the History Workshop has been the endeavour to collaborate with communities and to open these histories to other people including, significantly, those whose lives the research is about.

Oral history methodology has been the backbone of the group’s activities and research projects over nearly four decades.

The group is involved in a range of heritage and public history projects (including published community histories, exhibitions and museums, and other major public history initiatives), and holds regular seminars, book launches, conferences, oral history training workshops and history training projects for school teachers.  

Commemorating 40 years of the History Workshop

It is 40 years since the History Workshop was founded by a handful of intellectuals committed to contributing to the breaking down of apartheid, in the wake of a powerful resurgence of student and worker militancy in the 1970s.

Read more here.