Oral History Framework Launch Shows the Power of Personal Narratives
On Wednesday, 23 September 2015, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS) launched its Oral History Framework Document, as well as the Dulcie September Travelling Exhibition, at the Western Cape Archive and Records Management Service in Roeland Street, Cape Town.
The Oral History Framework offers guidelines for the process of collecting oral history and ensuring that data collection is done ethically in order for the information to be used. The exhibition also uses information that was gathered through the process of interviews to tell the story of the anti-apartheid activist Dulcie September. Some of September’s friends and family members who assisted the Museum Service through interviews were also present at the launch.
Hannetjie du Preez, Chief Director of Cultural Affairs, said that this document will be of great use to researchers but that the importance of the role of oral history was also represented in the exhibition, which tells previously untold stories about September’s life. “Our Museum Service could put this exhibition together through using information received through interviews with friends and family of Dulcie September. This shows how important our personal stories and documents can be.” she said.
Head of Department Brent Walters emphasised the importance of capturing personal histories: “Our true history is captured by capturing authentic voices. The different stories give texture to our history. This gives us the opportunity to capture voices that have not been heard in the past.” he said.
Minister Anroux Marais also stated that capturing oral history is very important: “We have a duty to keep our histories alive in our communities and within government so that future generations can celebrate our heritage. The documenting of oral histories is one way in which the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport ensures that past experiences are not lost, but rather made available to future generations.” she said.
DCAS preserves the stories of the past for future generations. Communities should support the Archive service in their aim to tell the untold stories. Let us celebrate our past and build our future BETTER TOGETHER.