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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Western Cape Oral History Project: the 1990s
Authors:Bickford-Smith, VivianISNI
Field, SeanISNI
Glaser, CliveISNI
Periodical:African Studies
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:urban history
oral history
History and Exploration
Education and Oral Traditions
Ethnic and Race Relations
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/00020180120063629
Abstract:Since the late 1970s oral history has become a vital element in the production of South African social history. The Cape Town History Project, later the Western Cape Oral History Project (WCOHP) was established in 1984 at the University of Cape Town (UCT). Before the 1980s the use of 'oral evidence' in academic research on Cape Town can only be found in the work of sociologists, social anthropologists and social geographers. Historians began studying the history of the city in the 1970s, but their project was bereft of oral methodology. When oral history arrived relatively late in the historiography of Cape Town, its influence was crucial. Research that relies solely on written sources bears the risk of presenting only the views of the dominant groups in society, while oral history methodology has the potential to record the views from below and from the margins. In spite of criticism of the oral history/social history movement in South Africa by post-modern scholarship, a challenge is awaiting oral history: the emotional costs of apartheid, as embedded in popular memory and constructed into stories need to be recorded and interpreted by oral historians. Bibliogr.