Oral History Collections Archived at UKZN

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Back from left: Researcher at Sinomlando Centre,
Mr Philani Dlamini; Assistant Library Officer, Alan
Paton Centre, Mrs Sherian Latiff; Director of
Sinomlando Centre, Mrs Nokhaya Makiwane;
Professor Philippe Denis of UKZN; Mr Nazim
Gani; and (front) Director, Zulu Mpophemeni
Tourism Experience, Mr Frank Mchunu.

UKZN’s Alan Paton Centre and Struggle Archives has become home to two significant oral history collections.

Memories of AIDS features interviews with community workers and support group members involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS in KwaZulu-Natal, while the second collection includes interviews with residents from Mpophemeni near Howick in KwaZulu-Natal. This collection highlights experiences related to apartheid, political violence and reconstruction.

Professor Shawn Utsey of Virginia Commonwealth University introduced the collection to the UKZN community and explained the importance of remembering the past.

In his welcome address, Head and Senior Librarian at the Alan Paton Centre, Mr Nazim Gani, described the significance of the collection and the importance of a rich tradition of oral history. ‘Oral History is significant in that interviews are conducted with people who participated in or observed past events and whose memories and perceptions of these are to be preserved as an aural record for future generations. 

‘The two oral history collections will be accessible to all and the Alan Paton Centre & Struggle Archives aims to make this information accessible in order to be a resource of excellence for research in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands region.’

These additions to the Alan Paton Centre & Struggle Archives collection were made possible by a collaboration between Sinomlando, a centre for oral history and memory work in Africa; the Alan Paton Centre and the Zulu Mpophemeni Tourism Experience (ZMTE).  Sinomlando is isiZulu for: We have a history.

Students, staff and members of the public are able to view the collections at the Alan Paton Centre. For more information telephone the Centre at 033- 260 5926 or e-mail: or visit the website: