In Zulu sinomlando means: "we have a history". The Sinomlando Centre for Oral History and Memory Work in Africa started at the School of Religion and Theology, University of KwaZulu-Natal, in 1996 as a way of developing a new vision about the history of Christianity in Southern Africa. Relying almost exclusively on written sources, missionary history has traditionally been written from a western perspective.
Through the methodology of oral history, Sinomlando tries to recover the silenced memories of the Christian communities, particularly those which suffered under apartheid. The oral testimonies of the indigenous people, men and women, community leaders and ordinary people, who give a face to the church in the African continent, need to be recorded if an all-inclusive history of African Christianity is ever to be written.
Because it is located in a theological institution, Sinomlando devotes particular attention to the history of the Christian communities. Gradually, however, the scope of the project has broadened. There is a need for oral history in all sectors of society.
Currently Sinomlando is involved in research and training in areas such as HIV/AIDS, gender issues, African traditional religion, township life and family history.
The Memory Box Programme, which is one of the main components of Sinomlando, is an attempt to address, through the methodology of oral history, the psycho-social needs of children affected by HIV/AIDS.