Saturday, October 4, 2008

Stories from a Wounded Country: South Africa

Philippe Denis and Radikobo Ntsimane, announced the release of their new book: Oral History in A Wounded Country: Interactive Interviewing in South Africa, Philippe Denis is professor of History of Christianity and Radikobo Ntsimane is a researcher in Oral History and Religious History, both at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Philippe and Radikobo are collaborators with Heritance on the Mpophomeni Ecomuseum in the former black Township of KwaZulu-Natal. They are respectively the director and the deputy-director of the Sinomlando Centre for Oral History and Memory Work in Africa at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

They write: With the end of apartheid and the exciting, but elusive, advent of a new nation, South Africa is witness to the emergence of a new generation of oral historians whose aim is to develop a broader, more inclusive and culturally sensitive understanding of the South African past. In a country still wounded by a legacy of racial discrimination, the retrieving of oral memories is a task more urgent than ever.

Oral History in a Wounded Country shows how the cultural, political, socio-economic and intellectual evolutions that gave birth to South Africa as we know it today affect the oral history process. It seeks to help practitioners, whether they use oral history as one technique among others to gain a better knowledge of the past, or envisage oral history as an academic discipline in its own right, to reflect critically on their practice and find better ways of handling the interview process. The challenge is to appreciate the complexity of South Africa’s diverse histories, while being attentive to the dynamics of the interview and their effect on both interviewers’ and interviewees’ sense of identity.

The book can be purchased on-line via and will be available on from the end of October.

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