Niall McNulty has been invited to present at a meeting of the Oral History Association of South Africa, to be held in Kimberley on the 15th March.
Niall will be discussing his work on digital media projects such as the Ulwazi Programme, which uses oral history methodology to collect indigenous knowledge and local history from communities around the eThekwini Municipality. He will also discuss the oral history documentary he produced in 2010, called Memories of Inanda, which was distributed solely online.
So what exactly is oral history? Itis a method of gathering, preserving and interpreting historical information through recorded interviews with people, communities and participants in past events and ways of life. Those interviewed do not have to be famous or of historical importance; they can be everyday people talking about their ordinary lives. Oral history is both a research technique and a method of preserving history. It provides a method to research personal perspectives and gather detailed information on a wide range of subjects. It provides one way to uncover the kind of history that often goes unwritten (Definition from www.dickinson.edu/oha).
The Internet allows for the dissemination of audio and video online, providing new scope for oral history projects, with large-scale digital memory projects currently underway in America and Europe. South Africa, with its oral traditions, has the potential for similar projects.