29 August 2016


SAHA is on the hunt for a new leader! Catherine Kennedy, the current director, has taken the decision to step down from her position at SAHA in order to follow up finally on the ever expanding list of research ideas she has been scribbling in the margins of (non-archival!) documents over the last few years:

"Running the South African History Archive (SAHA) has been an absolutely incredible on-the job learning experience for me, an intense and inspiring incubator of skills, ideas and relationships. But, after nearly a decade at SAHA, it is time to hand the Director baton off to someone new, with fresh vision and energy who will grab the opportunity to take forward the one-of-a-kind experiment in archival activism that is SAHA.

That said, my SAHA story isn't over just yet - it has become something of an organisational tradition, as befits an archive, that institutional memory is retained by recruiting previous SAHA team members to join the board. With three SAHA ex-directors currently serving as trustees, the joke bandied around at board meetings is that you can resign from SAHA any time you like but you can never leave!

There are plans afoot for me to join the board once my directorship is over, but first we need to find SAHA a new director - colleagues, friends, comrades, please do spread the word!"


Brief history of SAHA

Established in 1988 by anti-apartheid activists, the South African History Archive (SAHA) is an independent, non-profit, activist archive committed to documenting, supporting, and promoting greater awareness of historical and, since 1994, contemporary struggles for justice and accountability. 

SAHA’s core two programmes are:

  • the Struggles for Justice Programme (SFJP) which is responsible for developing and using SAHA’s archival collections to advocate for justice and accountability, and to support broader reconciliation efforts in helping South Africans to develop the means to understand and come to terms with the past, and contribute to the making of democracy in South Africa;
  • the Freedom of Information Programme (FOIP) which is responsible for testing and extending the boundaries of freedom of information by increasing compliance with, and the use of, the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA), 2000, through practice-based research, advocacy and training. 

Notably, SAHA has demonstrated a longstanding, cross-programmatic interest in the records of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). The focus of its ongoing archival and information activism relating to dealing with the past has been derived directly from the recommendations made by the TRC itself. SAHA is particularly engaged in conducting ongoing truth recovery to uncover further evidence about unknown or unacknowledged aspects of South Africa’s past, and making the TRC archive more widely accessible often in the face of little state engagement in continuing the reconciliation agenda begun by the TRC.


  • Leading the organisation to achieve strategic goals and objectives set by the Board of Trustees;
  • Guiding the organisation to achieve greater financial sustainability by driving fundraising and income diversification strategies;
  • Ensuring good governance and legal compliance in line with SAHA’s status as a trust, non-profit organisation and public benefit organisation;
  • Representing the interests of the organisation and its values and mission with stakeholders at national and international levels.


  • Must be a South African citizen or permanent resident and have a postgraduate degree in a field demonstrably relevant to SAHA’s mandate;
  • A minimum of 8 years’ work experience, with significant leadership, people management and project management experience;
  • Demonstrable experience of successfully managing the fundraising, business and governance elements of a non-profit organisation highly desirable;
  • Understanding of, and ability to advocate for archival and information activism, and articulate how these forms of activism can contribute to forwarding struggles for justice and accountability in South Africa;
  • A strong commitment to human rights and excellent knowledge of South African history are essential; Experience with public interest litigation highly desirable;
  • Strong inter-personal, presentational and written skills, with excellent eye for detail, and the ability to engage with a wide range of stakeholders; suitable to represent SAHA at national and international events

This is a contract post: 3 year fixed period post, ideally starting January 2017, renewable depending on funding and performance. This role will require some travel, and weekend work. The SAHA director is based at the SAHA offices at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg and reports to the Management Committee of the SAHA Board of Trustees

NOTE: SAHA is committed to diversity and transformation in the workplace and applies the principles of the Employment Equity Act, 1998, in its recruitment processes and employment practice. 


Submit a CV (no more than 3 pages), with cover letter (no more than 2 pages), copies of academic transcripts,  one sample of published writing and / or training materials you were responsible for developing that have direct relevance to the role being advertised, and up-to-date contact details of at least three professional referees to recruitment@saha.org.za. Your cover letter should include a short indication of your motivation for applying for this position.

NOTE: Subject line of email must include the following: SAHA Director 2016/08 – [Your Name]. 

UPDATED: Closing date:   Applications must be submitted no later than 6pm, Monday 26 September 2016

Interviews to take place in the week starting 3 October 2016                 

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

This vacancy is also being advertised on NGO Pulse Portal