Message from the Director-General of Basic Education

This guidelines book aims to support both teachers and learners in their oral history projects. It promotes the understanding and implementation of oral history methodology in the classroom context.

The primary purpose of these oral history guidelines is to assist teachers and learners in developing viable oral history projects for the National Curriculum Statement and the Nkosi Albert Luthuli Oral History Competition.

The National Curriculum Statement has provided a valuable space for the teaching and learning of oral history from Grade R-12 as the curriculum promotes the teaching of an inclusive history and the use of different historical sources in history teaching and learning. The new Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) also attaches great importance to the infusion of human rights and Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) in the curriculum.

The Department of Basic Education has been co-ordinating the Nkosi Albert Luthuli Young Historians’ Award for Grades 9-11 for the past five years. Learners and educators have supported the project with great enthusiasm as the quality of entries from provincial competitions continues to improve.

Different adjudicators have, in the past five years (since 2005), identified similar areas that need improvement. These areas are:

The selection of topics
The role of the teacher in the oral history research project
The importance of background research before undertaking the oral history research (interviewing)
The inability of some learners to put selected oral history topics in a historical context
Oral History Method in Practice
Preparing Oral History Interview
Doing/Conducting Oral History Interview
Presentation of research findings
The identification of interviewees
The use of technology in oral history research  (DVDs, video footages and photographs, Diaries, Clothes/Artifacts, Maps)
The guidelines also deal with these challenges by offering advice and guidance.

I trust that the enclosed oral history guidelines would add value to your research projects and strengthen the application of oral history methodology across the curricula.

Mr PB Soobrayan


Department of Basic Education

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