Fonds AL2933 - 1981 Detainees Oral History Project

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1981 Detainees Oral History Project


  • 2002-2003 (Accumulation)

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17 audio recordings and 17 transcripts

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Biographical history

The South African History Archive (SAHA) was established by anti-apartheid activists in the 1980s, and was closely connected in its formative years to the United Democratic Front, the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the African National Congress. It is an independent human rights archive dedicated to documenting, supporting and promoting greater awareness of past and contemporary struggles for justice through archival practices and outreach, and the utilisation of access to information laws.

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The South African History Archive (SAHA) and Historical Papers were approached by thirty seven people, who were imprisoned on 22 September 1981 and detained for anything from fourteen days to just under one year, to document and preserve their stories. The interviewees are: Cedric de Beer, Hannchen Koornhof, Maurice Smithers, Prema Naidoo, Norman Manoim, Caroline Cullinan, Emma Mashinini, Merle Favis, Pravin Gordhan, Audrey Coleman, Gavin Anderson, Barbara Klugman, Cedric Maysom, Kathy Satchwell, Alan Fine, Monty Narsoo and Joanne Yawitch. A number of the detainees (Rob Adam, Barbara Hogan, Alan Fine, Hannchen Koornhof, Prema Naidoo and Shireesh Nanabhai) went on trial and, in the case of Hogan and Adam, were jailed until the release of political prisoners in 1990. Neil Aggett died while in detention. Whilst other people were detained during this period, the detainees listed here were picked for their links to one another.

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