Oral History

Unearthing Stories, Cultivating Resilience: is a testament to the power of storytelling.

At Sinomlando, our Oral History Program is dedicated to unearthing stories that have been silenced or overlooked, believing in the transformative power of these narratives. Through our unique approach, we empower individuals and communities by providing them with the educational resources and understanding needed to navigate through adversity.

We believe in empowering individuals and communities through education and understanding. Our training model is designed to foster resilience, healing, and growth by equipping participants with the tools and knowledge to navigate challenging circumstances. Here’s a glimpse into our comprehensive approach. 

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Why is it Important?

History holds generations together. But much of what happened in the past has not been captured in written records. Oral history brings this past to life.

Stories that would otherwise be lost to us are are passed on from generation to generation, by narrators, who tell us about the anonymous makers of history.

Why is this important? Oral history enables us to gain knowledge on the history of our family, school or community. It can help us deal with sensitive issues (for example forced removals) and contribute to healing, and it is an enriching learning process.

How does it work?

When we begin an Oral History project, we must first define:

  • What is the goal of the project?
  • What is the historical subject that we want to investigate?
  • What background research should be done?
  • Who can provide information on the subject?
  • How many, and what types of interviews will be conducted (individual and or group)?
  • What questions or topics will be explored?
  • What personnel, equipment and materials do we need?
  • What funds will we need and where will we find them?
  • How are we going to use the information?
  • What kinds of material will be generated?
  • How will that material be used?
  • Where will the material be stored?

The Value of Resilience

Oral History: An interactive engagement between a person who tells a story and another one who listens and asks questions.

Oral History Programme

Information resulting from the process can be disseminated in various ways: though exhibitions, written material – ranging from easy readers, booklets, books and newspaper articles to research theses. We can also share history though museums, exhibitions and the performing arts.

Before going ahead, we need to consider ethical issues such as confidentiality, informed consent and empathy for the interviewees.

Oral History

  •  People and communities who make sense of their history are more likely to develop to their full potential.
  •  Telling one’s story in a caring and supportive environment helps to take control of one’s life.
  •  It is important to validate people’s perceptions and feelings, however painful or controversial they may be.
  •  Being able to talk to others about one’s history is empowering.
Sharing stories of past events

Oral History

The operations of the Oral History Programme were funded by Queens University through a grant that is managed by Prof Marc Epprecht. The project was a collaboration with Queens University, University of KwaZulu Natal and Sinomlando.

Sinomlando also participated for a short while in a project that was called “Amazwi Omame”, the voices of women. Sinomlando supported the project with data collection tools and ethical issues that relate to oral history research as well as the debriefing for the women who were participating in the research.