30 September 2014

Vacancy: RESEARCHER - Right to Truth Project

Brief history of SAHA

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

SAHA’s two core programmes are:

  • the Freedom of Information Programme which is responsible for submitting access to information requests,  as well as lobbying and advocacy, raising awareness and conducting training to NGOs, CBOs and students around the use of the Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2000 (PAIA) to advance human rights in South Africa;
  • the Struggles for Justice Programme which is responsible for developing and using SAHA’s archival collections to support broader reconciliation efforts in helping South Africans to develop the means to understand and come to terms with the past.

Notably, SAHA, through its educational, outreach and advocacy work across both programmes, has demonstrated a longstanding interest in 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 accessible1, often in the face of little state engagement in continuing the reconciliation agenda begun by the TRC.


This role requires a motivated self-starter with the ability to work independently and as part of a team to achieve timely, high quality outputs. The candidate should:

  • Be a South African citizen and have a relevant post-graduate qualification;
  • Be familiar with the non-government and human rights sectors in South Africa;
  • Have experience conducting human rights research, including practical experience of working with print archival collections, compiling / analysing data and writing up research reports;
  • Have a demonstrable interest in, and familiarity with transitional justice / dealing with the past theory and legal frameworks, and ability to map this theory to the South African context;
  • Possess excellent research and writing skills;
  • Experience supervising interns or junior researchers is highly desirable.


  • Providing research support in PAIA-related litigation for access to TRC records, as well as collaborative advocacy initiatives of the South African Coalition for Transitional Justice;
  • Drawing on the archival collections at SAHA to produce case studies relating to the unfinished business of the TRC designed to promote accountability in line with the TRC recommendations;
  • Overseeing the incorporation of released TRC records into existing SAHA web platforms relating to the records of the TRC, and identifying strategies and opportunities for making TRC-related materials more readily accessible to the general public;
  • Supervising the work of a Right to the Truth project intern;
  • Contributing to communications and media strategies relating to Right to Truth project work at SAHA

This is a one-year full-time fixed term contract role. The Right to Truth Project Researcher will be based at the SAHA offices at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg and will report to the SAHA Director, or the SAHA management team, as directed.


Submit a CV (3 – 4 pages), with cover letter (1 - 2 pages), copies of academic transcripts, at least 1 relevant, published writing sample, and up-to-date contact details of at least three professional referees to catherine@saha.org.za.


Your cover letter should include a short indication of your motivation for applying for this position and should clearly outline the suitability of your educational background and prior experience for this role.

The subject line of your email must include the following:  

RTT Researcher application 2014/10 – [Your Name].

Applications not conforming to these guidelines will not be considered and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

Closing date:  4pm, Monday 13 October 2014

Proposed interview date: Monday 20 October 2014

Proposed starting date: As soon as possible

For more information about South African History Archive, visit www.saha.org.za.

Download PDF version.

1 TRC Final Report, Volume 5, Chapter 8. Available at: http://sabctrc.saha.org.za/reports/volume5/chapter8/subsection31.htm