23 January 2015

SAHA in the Classroom - 2015 workshop series for history educators

In 2015, as part of SAHA's ongoing programme for history educators, SAHA conducted a series of 8 half-day workshops for history educators on Saturday mornings from 09h00 - 13h00 at the SAHA offices at Constitution Hill. 

Drawing on existing SAHA archival and education materials for history educators, the aim of these workshops was to support quality education, in line with curriculum requirements, enabling educators to work with learners to:

  • Develop oral history and heritage projects around often previously marginalised community histories;
  • Use primary sources to explore and discuss recent South African history;
  • Draw on the archive of the TRC to discuss issues of reconciliation in the South African context.
  • Commemorate key events and moments in South African’s history.

These workshops were located within SAHA’s ongoing efforts that aims to use history education to help young people learn to become active, tolerant and responsible democratic citizens who value diversity, human rights and peace.

The 2015 schedule of the workshops

Workshop 1: ORAL HISTORY IN THE CLASSROOM - Saturday 28/02/2015

Workshop used SAHA resources 'Meeting history face to face' (book and DVD) and 'Hear our history' virtual exhibition.

Workshop 2: EXHIBITIONS IN THE CLASSROOM – Saturday 14/03/2015

Workshop was held on using SAHA's Exhibition in the Classroom booklets to commemorate key dates in the South African calendar with their learners. These booklets are based on three SAHA's portable exhibition kits, in which artefacts from SAHA's archives provide a lens into the various ways in which women, workers and young people struggled against apartheid, and for democracy in South Africa.

Each Exhibition in the Classroom booklet can be used (along with either the related physical exhibition kit or virtual exhibition) by schools interested in hosting commemorative events such as:

  • International Women's Day - 8 March
  • South African Human Rights Day - 21 March
  • South African Women's Day - 9 August
  • Worker's Day - 1 May
  • International Human Rights Day - 10 December


Workshop 3: APARTHEID AND THE RISE OF RESISTANCE (pre-1976) – Saturday 18/04/2015

Workshop 4: RESISTANCE UNDER APARTHEID (1976 onwards) – Saturday 16/05/2015

Workshop 5: TRANSITION TO DEMOCRACY – Saturday 25/07/2015

Workshop 3, 4 and 5 focused on using primary sources in the classroom to teach apartheid history and drew from the following SAHA resources:


Workshop 6: TEACHING THE TRC – Saturday 22/08/2015 (moved from the 15th of August)

Drawing on SAHA's publications 'The battle against forgetting: human rights and the unfinished business of the TRC', 'Between life and death: stories from John Vorster Square, and the SAHA / SABC Truth Commission Special Report web portal, the aim of this workshop was to:

  • Empower history educators to critically examine the TRC and the role it played in healing South Africa and in nation-building.
  • Provide educators with a more in-depth understanding of the concepts, principles and workings of the TRC.
  • Build on educators' knowledge of the TRC through engagement with content and concept development, mastering skills of teaching, and exploring human values in order to promote a humane approach to teaching the TRC.
  • Engage with a variety of different sources, including written sources, cartoons, film and witnesses' testimonies.
  • Explore the moral lessons that can be learnt from the TRC process and consider the ongoing implications of the unfinished business of the TRC.. Teachers were encouraged to deal with topics sensitively in order to develop humane and aware learners.

Workshop 7: TEACHING RACE - Saturday 05/09/2015

Workshop 8: THE LEGACIES OF THE LAND ACT - Saturday 19/09/2015 (moved to the 3rd of October)

Workshop 9: TEACHING (ABOUT) WAR – THE SS MENDI CASE STUDY - Saturday 17/10/2015 (moved to 20/02/2016)

This workshop conducted this year 2016 was held on the historic sinking of the troopship SS Mendi during the First World War, one of South Africa's worst marine tragedies in which more than 600 troops, many from the last contingent of the South African Native Labour Corps sent to support the war effort in Europe, perished in the English Channel in 1917.

This story of the SS Mendi was used as a starting point to explore the complexities of teaching (about) war in the classroom as well as to consider the use of oral testimony as primary sources in reconstructing histories of war.


All educators workshops are usually limited to 20 participants. To RSVP and/or find out more about the upcoming workshops, please contact SAHA on 011 718 2560 or send an email info@saha.org.za

Cover: MHFTF