Forgotten voices in the present: post-1994 oral histories from three poor communities in South Africa (2007  - 2008)

Conducted by Dr Dale McKinley and Ahmed Veriava since early 2007, this research project is an attempt to capture ‘histories from below' of the South African transition through the collection and analysis of individual oral histories from residents in three poor communities. It is intended that the resulting collection of stories will represent a meaningful cross-section of rural, urban and peri-urban realities in South Africa's post-1994 political, social and economic history, as lived and experienced by the oppressed and the marginalised majority.

In addition to a complete set of these oral histories being digitised, transcribed and added to the archives at SAHA, the project will produce a book-length manuscript that offers a range of alternative histories of the South African transition, based on the experiences of ordinary indigent South Africans, whose voices are ordinarily excluded from the dominant discourses. The possibility of expanding this project through the production of a documentary film to raise awareness of the ongoing socio-economic and cultural struggles of poor communities in South Africa is also being explored.

In the course of gathering these oral histories, a number of potential access to information requests relating to housing, infrastructure and community development have been identified by community members in these locations. It is intended that SAHA's Freedom of Information Programme will be working with these communities to support the submission of these requests.


Singing the Maandagshoek blues. Dale McKinley & Ahmed Veriava; Business Day, 02/08/2007
Voices cry from under new myths about ordinary SA Dale McKinley & Ahmed Veriava; Business Day, 01/10/2007
Forgotten Voices report and DVD