Fonds AL2461 - SAHA Exiles Project

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SAHA Exiles Project


  • 1991 (Accumulation)

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0.1 linear metre (1 archival box); sound recordings; interview transcripts

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Biographical history

In 1990, after the unbanning of various political organisations, the South African History Archive (SAHA) set up the Oral History Project with Tom Mathole as the co-ordinator.

The first project undertaken was to interview some of those who had been in exile and had returned to South Africa. It was to have focused on the circumstances leading to the exile, their life in exile and their perceptions of South Africa after having returned.

The second part of the project was to have done follow-up interviews one or two years later, to see what they were doing and how they were coping with being back in South Africa.

When the project was conceptualised, it was hoped to cover the wide spectrum of exile experience, of people based in the camps, in Lusaka, in London, in the Soviet bloc countries, in developing countries; of those who left in the 1960s; after 1976 and in the 1980s; and of those who grew up in exile; those who occupied leadership positions and those who were rank and file members.

Unfortunately, the project was never completed as it was undertaken in a climate of change and uncertainty. Due to the fact that the project was never completed some of the interviews stop before the period in exile could be covered. The interview with Soli Modise was included in this project because of his knowledge of Alexandra township, although he never went into exile. All the interviews were conducted by Tom Mathole.

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This oral history project was set up by the South African History Archive (SAHA) in 1990 after the unbanning of various political organisations with Tom Mathole as co-ordinator. The first step involved interviewing a selection of exiles that had returned to South Africa. This collection focuses on the circumstances leading up to exile, life in exile and the returnees' current perceptions of South Africa. The interviewees are: Angela Brown, Michael Kgoadi, Nontsikelelo Memela, Papi Moloto, Moosa Moolla, Selby Msimang, Sue Rabkin, Ngoako Ramathlodi, Pumla Williams, Bongiwe Njobe, Phola Mabizela and Soli Modise.

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This collection is open for research

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