Oral History initiative rolled out in George

NOVEMBER 25, 2016

The Honourable Western Cape Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Anroux Marais officially rolled out the Oral History Initiative in George on Tuesday with the Honourable Executive Mayor of George Aldm Melvin Naik.

The roll out happened took place at the George Museum. Various members from the community attended the occasion. 15 People from George told their stories and most of them attended the event and was honoured for their part in history.

Launched in December 2015, the Oral History Initiative aims to capture and preserve the unique stories of communities within the Western Cape. The launch will afford local community members, including sports legends, a chance to share their personal stories with each other.

Minister Marais calls on each citizen in the Western Cape to share their stories at their local participating libraries. While promoting social inclusion through sharing our stories, we can also ensure that personal histories and experiences are kept alive in communities and within government so that future generations can celebrate their heritage.

Minister Marais said in her address her time as Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport has afforded her greater insight into the diversity of the Western Cape. She encouraged people to keep telling their stories about their communities and where they come from. “Is there a better way to bind our services and our communities together than through telling our stories through oral history and sharing our life stories with each other.

Aldm Naik said it is really interesting listening to the different historical stories. “We have rich history on many different levels. But sadly some of our history is buried with the death of the elderly. Also with oral history transcribed into written history, content can get lost,” Aldm Naik said.

“That is why I applaud this initiative taken by the department to capture the oral history. This is the fifth oral history rollout by the Minister.” He thanked the Minister for preserving our history.

Cllr Wilbert Harris received honourable recognition on behalf of his uncle, Fred Harris (61) who was known as a champion against the Lawaaikamp evictions in the 80’s. He died only a few weeks after recording his oral history. Fred Harris is also a former Icosa Councillor. He was in the news in September with the 40th anniversary of the death of Abeeda Harris who died on 13 September 1976. Abeeda was shot dead by police in George during the political uprising.

Former George Councillor and former-activist, Castro Leholo, one of the storytellers, said in his address “history can make or break you, unite or divide you. He said we should make sure we narrate stories from the correct sources and be very careful not to exclude certain areas. He said even small stories can build a society and this is what we should do to build a George that is united.

Ms Lynne Thompson, a volunteer at the George Museum, also did a presentation on the early history of George. Siyakhona Drumming Group with Lady K entertained the audience.

Caption: The Honourable Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Anroux Marais, with the people who were honoured for participating in the Oral History capturing project.