South African Society for History Teaching


SASHT Conference 2014

Here are some of the Powerpoint presentations and/or Word documents that were given at the 2014 conference.  Hope you find them useful!

1) SS Mendi Paper SASHT 10 October 2014

2) Dingane-Retief Treaties

3) The American Indian Civil Rights Movement

4) Diluting History in the quest for social justice

5) History teachers as activists.

 6 – Beyond Blame and Victimhood on Apartheid

7)Thinking about the curriculum internationally

8) Enhancing parental involvement in the Social Sciences

9) Heritage sites – Melville Koppies

10a) – Military History – Using the Real Thing.

10b) – Military History – Using the Real Thing slides.

11) Inspiring Learners – Getting the Recipe Right.

12 – From the history lecture room to the school classroom

13) Teaching History Through Thinking Maps

14a) Cellphone Use in the Classroom

15) The Maties who caused all the trouble

16) Running in and away from the archives

17) Telling stories or teaching historical thinking

18) The Historical Literacy of secondary school teachers

20 – Rwandan History teachers and drawings on Genocide

21 – Re-thinking History teaching – Argentina.




And here…. ladies and gentlemen …. is the draft programme for the History conference taking place from 13 to 15 September.  Please have a good look to see which of the sections has a special interest for you!!

ISHD-SASHT Conference Draft Programme-13-15 Sept 2017-(7June sent)


Remember Sharpeville!   Human Rights Day 21 March!    (See Facebook page.)
The deadline for the submission of abstracts for the conference is just about here!!  Please act quickly if you wish to participate!  Here is the revised version of the conference details – as well as 5 possible post-conference excursions, especially for our overseas visitors!  An excellent chance to see South Africa once the conference is over.  Have a look!
So, now that the 2016 conference is over and the papers have been read (on this website!) we have news of the:


Details are given below and this is the first call for papers for this conference.
It should be very interesting and really goes beyond what we have done in previous years.  It is in September, so please make a date and plans so that you can be there – it is something not to be missed.    Read below!

2016 Conference

Were you at the 2016 Conference?  NO?  Not a problem – have a look at our Conference page and see most of the presentations that were given as well as a few photographs at the Conference.  Enjoy!!

Yesterday and Today

Our latest edition of “Yesterday and Today” has been published under Publications.  Please have a look! 

Urgent message to all SASHT-members and conference attendees and presenters of papers-Change of VENUE in Port Elizabeth

Dear SASHT members and attendees/presenters at the 30th Conference in Port Elizabeth from 6-7 October 2016.

It has come to the attention of the SASHT that the situation on both NMMU-campuses has not returned to normal yet due to the country wide “fees must fall campaign”. The campus authority does not want to allow or accommodate any activity on the Missionvale Campus where we would have hosted the SASHT conference. Despite  this disappointing turn of events, the SASHT is committed to all the presenters and others that will attend the conference.  We have at this late stage secured Pine Lodge as the venue, closer to Summerstrand where we believe most of you have booked your accommodation as suggested to all some months ago. We dearly want you all to still come; also please tweet  ANY of the history educators you know of in the Eastern Cape to join us and to spread the word of the conference and changed venue because we surely are in the Eastern Cape for them as well!

So ….  just to confirm –

6-7 October 2016

VENUE: Pine Lodge

Marine Drive, Summerstrand, Port Elizabeth, 6001 Tel 041 583 4004


Here is the FINAL programme for the 2016 History Conference!  Please have a good look and hope to see you at the Conference!


Understandings of ‘decolonising’ curricula and history teaching


6-7 October 2016

NMMU-Eastern Cape

Conference Centre Missionvale Campus


Please take note:

All costs (travel, accommodation, subsistence) related to your participation in the conference must be arranged and covered by the participant. The SASHT and conference organizers are not liable and hold no responsibility for any of these costs.

It is suggested that delegates stay in Summerstrand, Humewood or Walmer. Other areas not really suitable. Hotels on beachfront range from pricey to reasonable. Check Tripadvisor or Trivago or other websites.


We are considering an excursion to the Red Location Museum if possible and re-opened at the time or a visit to the South End Museum as option. Delegates who have interest in undertaking the excursion should bring along R50.00 entrance fee and be willing to travel with their own cars to the museum.


If you require any other information or assistance please contact Mr David Edley of the NMMU (SASHT conference organiser for 2016) at or Tel 041 504 2834.

See you in The Bay!



The latest news concerning History as a subject following a meeting in December that we were at!  Have a look at the report!

From the table of the SASHT Executive

January 2015

Observations Mrs Henriette Lubbe (Vice Chair SASHT):

Commenting on the History Round Table held in Pretoria on 3 December 2015:

With regard to the History Round Table, I can report that the event was well organised and brought together representatives from a wide variety of institutions and organisations including some members (but not all) of the government-appointed task team, various National and Provincial Education Department officials, trade union representatives, academics from some tertiary institutions and representatives of organisations such as the SASHT. SASHT representation was strong and included Siobhan Glanvill-Miller, Michelle Friedman, Barry Firth, Gill Sutton and I, but Jake Manenzhe from Limpopo also joined our table (although officially representing the Limpopo Education Department), and we were very aware of Rob Siebörger’s stable and well informed presence. The SASHT team members arrived on time and faithfully stayed for the duration of the proceedings; so did the Minister, Deputy Minister and Director-General, which I perceived as proof that they were taking the future of History in our schools seriously. I really appreciate the commitment, sacrifice and contribution of each SASHT team member, and I am grateful that the SASHT could make its presence felt in a quiet and mature manner at this first round of discussions.


In the first (plenary) session, the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, impressed with a balanced speech in which she argued that we need ‘pure academic history in the interest of our children and country – not a history of the ANC or propaganda’ and ‘a nuanced approach to teaching and writing history’. She assured the audience several times that no decision had yet been taken, or will be taken about the future status of History in our schools before the task team has finalised its report. In the same session Prof Peter Lekgoathi (a member of the task team) shared some international trends with regard to the status of History as a compulsory subject. This talk was very informative, conveyed a broad perspective, and instilled trust in the task team’s vision and research orientation.  


The plenary session was followed by five ‘Commission Breakaways’ which ran concurrently, and the day ended with a plenary report-back session during which a spokesperson from each Commission provided a brief summary of the discussions that had taken place in the session he/she attended. It is estimated that the breakaway sessions were attended by 60 to 70 people who were free to choose which session they wanted to go to. The breakaway sessions focused on topics such as ‘The value of all learners offering History as a subject up to exit level of schooling’ (Commission 1); Strengthen the current offering of History as a subject’ (Commission 2); Exploring the possibility of combining History with Life Orientation’ (Commission 3); ‘Implications of learners offering History and a plan to address them’ (Commission 4); and ‘The role of monitoring, evaluation and research’ (Commission 5). The SASHT team divided itself up and sent different team members to different breakaway sessions.    


My experience of the session that I attended (Commission 1), supported by feedback that I received from a former colleague who facilitated Commission 5, was mostly positive. Facilitators had to adhere to a structured approach which, in typical SWOT Analysis fashion, covered the progress made so far in terms of their particular topic/focus (strengths), the developmental areas (weaknesses) that need to be addressed, ways in which these ‘weaknesses’ could be turned into strengths, and the strategic activities (plan of action) that can be considered for the short term (2016-2017), medium term (2018-2020) and longer term (2020- 2030). I thought the discussions were useful in that they provided delegates with an opportunity to reflect on a wide range of History-related issues, voice opinions, share ideas, record concerns and suggestions for improvement, form a clear picture of the current state of the historical discipline, and act as a quick source of information for the task team. However, the time allocated to these discussions proved to be insufficient and made it impossible to analyse issues in depth, let alone sending delegates home with a feeling of real achievement. On the other hand, being able to potentially shape the work of the task team is very positive.

Another positive element was the promise to arrange a follow-up round table next year. Whether such discussions will have any impact on the work of the task team, or simply serve as a forum where delegates will be invited to rubber stamp the proposals of the task team, is unclear at this stage. Time frames for the work of the task team were not discussed (unless I missed it when I had to leave the venue for a short while), and so we do not know what to expect when from the task team.

Judging from Rob’s feedback, the Commissions were not strongly for either History as part of Life Orientation or a separate FET subject. However, Barry is of the opinion that the task team should be in no doubt of the importance all stakeholders attach to History as an independent subject. The message came through clearly from everybody in the breakaway session he attended (except SADTU and one other Free State representative), that History should remain an elective and that Life Orientation should be strengthened to achieve the aims of nation building and social cohesion. The need for bursaries to strengthen the INSET and CTPD and the broadening of Funza lushaka were also emphasized by many, while the same sentiments were expressed in the formulation of both short and longer term goals…

Observations Mr Barry Firth:

I am of the opinion that the Task Team is now in no doubt of the importance all stakeholders attach to the independent subject HISTORY. It came through from all, except SADTU and one other Free State rep, that history should remain an elective and that L.O. be strengthened to achieve the aims of nation building and social cohesion. This LO curriculum people from around the country re-emphasised. Also stressed by us and others was the need for bursaries to strengthen the INSET and CTPD. Funza Lushaka has to be broadened.long term and short term goals expressed the same sentiments.


I was particularly impressed by the public utterances of the minister and deputy who came across as genuinely interested in shaping a history (subject) which does not disregard the integrity of the subject. I have faith that the Task Team is aware of our position. The task team

must now show their mettle and do justice to their mandate. PS…i do now begin to feel a twinge of doubt…similar to what Neville

Chaimberlain must have felt as he announced to all.”peace in our time!”


Observations Ms Gillian Sutton:

As SASHT members we placed ourselves in different ‘Commissions’. I attended Commission 1, which was assigned the task of considering: *The value of all learners offering History as a subject up to exit level of schooling*. The group was diverse and was facilitated by Dr. Edna Rooth, who I found out later, is a Life Orientation person. Her lack of knowledge about the history curriculum and textbooks initially frustrated me. However, in the end we managed to come to some consensus in answering the four questions set. I was pleased that Henrietta attended the same group as I did, because I was fairly direct with colleagues. It was good to hear from her, afterwards, that I hadn’t been too forthright. Jake’s was also with us and he did a great job of feeding back to plenary. In fact I believe that the members SASHT made a valuable contribution to the broader discussion.



The positive aspects that came out in our group, were:

  • The value of the Albert Luthuli Oral history competition in developing learner’s skills and   understand of the past.
  • The value of excursions
  • The value of showcasing learner’s workThere was considerable discussion around the challenges of history being a compulsory subject, these were:


  • Number of teachers
  • Teacher competency at present
  • The nature of pre-service and in-service training
  • That “Not all history teachers are good history teachers”
  • History as a ‘dumping ground’ for learners not passing other subjects
  • How history is timetabled in schools
  • Many schools don’t offer history
  • Often learners are ‘progressed’ – this has a negative impact on
  • teaching and learning and results in very large classes
  • Language proficiency – both in terms of the language of instruction
  • and in terms of an understanding of the language of history.The strategic activities for the short, medium and long term were discussed in an animated and energetic manner.


  • Short term 2016 -2017*:


  • Engage with Universities
  • Set a national standard at the GET level, as some schools don’t
  • Teach history at that level if they don’t offer history in the FET phase.
  • The suggestion was a National Assessment/Common Paper. 


  • Medium term 2018 – 2020*:


  • Use the DBE diagnostic report to help analysis the weaknesses and
  • Develop strategies to counter them.
  • Strengthen teacher training 


  • Long term 2020 – 2030*:


  • Develop quality curriculum intervention strategies
  • Make the Funaz Lushaka (spelling) bursary available to those wanting
  • to study history education – *personally I think that this should be
  • priority number one.*
  • Analysis of the textbooks
  • Promote partnerships – museum, heritage sites, institutions …
  • Fight the financial battle so as not to be hamstrung by money 


  • The plenary session was good. The five groups had a number of common themes and left the Task Team in no doubt about the challenges and opportunities for history teachers and history teaching in South Africa. It seemed to me that there was general agreement across the Commissions that the integrity of history as an elective subject was to be preserved, and that Life Orientation would develop of patriotic citizens. I was impressed by the fact that the Minister, deputy Minister and DG all stayed until 15:00. The general feeling was one of, doing what is best for the youth of South Africa… I believe that they are genuinely interested in doing what is best for South Africa. I can help wondering if they are not under considerable political pressure to adopt a ‘patriotic nationalism’ approach to history education….


A pilot History Quiz is being run for a few schools this week – and we are looking to eventually convert this into a major History “Olympiad”.  Here is some information for the schools that are entering.  Good luck to all of you.


Thank you for participating in our first online history quiz!

Please take note of the following:

  • The test consists of 50 multiple choice questions
  • You have only 35 minutes to take the test.
  • Read the instructions carefully
  • Once you have submitted an answer you will not be able to change it.
  • If you achieve above 50% the programme will automatically generate a certificate of participation. You can save it to print later.



Click on the following link to register and start the test!

Good luck!




A map to the conference venue is now included together with the programme!PROGRAMME_SASHT__CONFERENCE_2015 FINAL-5 Oct 2015



A fresh look at our Constitution – in case you have not seen it!


 New Membership form for the New Year!




The South African Society for History Teaching, 1986-2013 – A focus of 27 years on trends of regression and progression as Society Abstract A society for history teaching was formally established in 1986. This Society held national conferences on a bi-annual basis. This broadened the pool of possible contributions for the Yesterday & Today Journal (founded in 1981) substantially. Since 1986 it all along remained an uphill struggle to maintain the position of history as an important school subject in the face of a host of negative issues that impacted on history. In short an historical and materialistic time and age had a negative influence on history as a school subject. The uncertainty and new priorities of a new political dispensation were not helpful either. Old prejudices and perceptions around power structures aggravated the tensions. A number of tertiary institutions took the responsibility for organising SASHT conferences. Picture1












Y&T_13_JULY 2015




Yesterday&Today JournalNo.11JULY2014





       Yesterday & Today Journal No.9 JULY 2013 
Yesterday & Today Journal No.8 DEC 2012

Yesterday and Today Journal July No7 2012

Yesterday and Today Journal December No6 2011

Yesterday and Today Journal October No5 2010

Yesterday and Today Journal October No4 2009

(PDF Format, 2.2MB)

Yesterday and Today Journal October No3 2008

(PDF Format, 1.8MB)

Yesterday and Today Journal May No2 2008

(PDF Format, 4.8MB)

Yesterday and Today Journal May No1 2007

(PDF Format, 2.1MB)

Yesterday and Today Journal March 2006

CV Prof. Elize van Eeden


Personal details & qualifications
Concise Curriculum Vitae
Elize S van Eeden (South Africa)

Elize completed the first degree in 1981 (University of Johannesburg South Africa). In 1985 she obtained the BA Honours in History(University of South Africa, Pretoria); the MA in History with distinction (North-West University) with the dissertation titled: Die geskiedenis van die Gatsrand vanaf die vestiging van die Trekkergemeenskap omstreeks 1839 tot die proklamering van Carletonville in 1948 [Directly translated: “The History of the Gatsrand since the settlement of the first Emigrants known as the Trekkers/Voortrekkers up to the proclamation of the town Carletonville”]. Thereafter the PhD was obtained in 1992 with research on: Ekonomiese ontwikkeling en die invloed daarvan op Carletonville, 1948-1988: ’n Historiese studie [Directly translated:”Economic development and its influence on Carletonville in the period 1948-1988”].

Elize started her professional career in 1982 as teacher. In 1986 she made a short appearance as regional researcher at the Potchefstroom Museum. In July 1986 her career as research scientist started at the former Potchefstroom University [The present day North-West University]. In 2000 she was promoted to associate professor. From 2002 she is in employed at the Vaal Triangle Campus of the Northwest University in the School for Basic Sciences and was promoted to full professor in 2009.

From 1985 to 2010 Elize has published widely. These include 60 articles in accredited academic journals; Contributions in various other journals, yearbooks textbooks and the publication of more than 12 local, corporate and general history book publications. Amongst others she wrote the book: “Didactical guidelines for teaching history in a changing South Africa” (1999). In 2008 she was honoured as the most active researcher of the Vaal Triangle Campus and one of the top ten researchers of the North West University. Currently she is involved in funded (NRF and WRC) projects dealing with integrative multidisciplinary research in local ecohealth matters (inclusive of the positioning of the humanities in integrative research). She acts as project coordinator for research in the School of Basic Science.

Elize currently is chairperson of the South African Society for History Teaching and editor of the accredited peer reviewed scientific journals Yesterday and Today and New Contree. She also is an editorial member of three other journals and a member of five history related societies.

SASHT Conference 2012

History conference 2012

SASHT Conference 2012 – Western Cape

What’s the fuss about chocolate

Blowing your own trumpet long version

The Coachman’s Cottage 1

dr visser

Oral history in the classroom

2012 history education in uk and SA

AE Carl-War remembrances-SASHT 4-5 Okt 2012


A sport historical exploration of mission school sport1


SASHT presentation

06 Carry On

Asimbonanga de Johnny Clegg Savuka – YouTube

SASHT Conference 2010

Golden Gate

Conference Feedback 2010
Chairperson’s Report (PDF, 117kb)
Photos of Conference
Exploring Heritage In The Classroom: Towards Debalkinising Nation Building – Boitumelo Moreeng (PDF, 538kb)
Simplifying the assessment of heritage assignment – Buti Kompi (PDF, 235kb)
Carnarvon: Reflections on Attempts at Heritage – How to teach heritage in a meaningful way (PDF, 3,258kb)
Ideas from the conference – Dee Gillespie (PDF, 55kb)
Instructions for the French Revolution: Chain of events – Dee Gillespi (PDF, 66kb)
Why re-invent the wheel? – Dee Gillespi (PDF, 10,158kb)
Visiting struggle memorials – Jackie Grobler (PDF, 5,362kb)
Monument Trails – JPD Strauss (PDF, 4,103kb)

MONUMENT TRAILS Johann Strauss (NWU, Vaal Triangle Campus) (PDF, 54kb)

Monuments Of Patriotism: The Commemoration Of Warrior Kings In Limpopo Province, South Africa – Lawrence Thotse (PDF, 1,563kb)
THE HOLOCAUST: Lessons for humanity: Teaching the Holocaust in Post – Apartheid South Africa. – Marlene Silbert (PDF, 47kb)
4 Identity – Marlene Silbert (PDF, 920kb)
Starting Up a School Museum by Matthew Marwick (PDF, 1,567kb)
Why Heritage In History Curriculum? – Mosebetsi Mofokeng (PDF, 225kb)

The School As A Microcosm Of Communities And Their Heritage And The Need To Encapsulate This In The Writing Of School Histories – Paul M Haupt (PDF, 23kb)

The value and role of cemeteries: Designing a possible methodology for teaching heritage to History learners – Pieter Warnich (PDF, 406kb)
Empowering Secondary School Teachers To Teach History And Heritage Through Open And Distance Learning – Riette Lubbe (PDF, 112kb)
Getting your hands dirty – Simon Haw (PDF, 5,206kb)
Brandwater Basin (PDF, 756kb)
What’s in a monument – Simon Haw (PDF, 5,206kb)
The Power Of Power: Industrial Heritage in Development Projects and in the History Curriculum – Sue Krige (PDF, 16,073kb)
‘The Power Of Power’: The Uses Of Industrial Heritage, And Power Stations In Particular, In Contemporary Development Projects And In The History Curriculum – Sue Krige (PDF, 142kb)
How To Guide Learners To Ultimately Produce A Heritage Documentary Movie – Tienie Beukes (PDF, 1,537kb)

Time to look back without fear

Minister of Education,Professor Kader Asmal, gives his views on history, memory and human progress

IT has been said South Africa is a country with much to forget, much pain, much loss, countless mistakes and squandered opportunities, lapses of judgement and fatigue of imagination. We are all bound up in these things. From the earliest instances of human interaction in Southern Africa ±quite as much as anywhere else, but most especially in our last 500 years ± the history of the confluences and conflicts that have formed and reformed society is often so awful we are moved, in the interests of sanity, to neutralise it, to push it into the background.

Yet if there is psychological need to overcome bad memory and move on, which seems a universal human impulse, it is predicated on remembering, or revelation, on history itself. It is the antithesis of amnesia, of the idle forgetfulness of people who lose track of who they are and the opposite of the deliberate forgetting of tyranny that is a denial of truth.

It is precisely our business, the business of history, to overcome forgetfulness, and to interrogate truths, to dare to remember, and to dare to question memory.

The writer Henry Miller was referring to a different kind of seeing when he argued that the role of the artist was to “contribute disillusion” to the world. In the realm of aesthetic perception, he did not mean introducing disappointment to society, but achieving revelation ± by the undoing of what is expected, by the overturning of what is taken for granted.

There is perhaps a lesson for us in Miller’s idea. People are fond of saying that “seeing is believing” to convey the idea that visible evidence is what is needed to banish doubt and affirm conviction. It is, perhaps, the sceptic’s motto, and it has its uses. But in history,seeing and believing are not equal opposites, and neither cancels out the other. After all, we all see differently, and are thus convinced differently.

Indeed, scepticism and conviction are the great and necessary rivals in the making, the writing, and the teaching of history. It is never enough to claim a knowledge of facts, since facts are shaped and revealed by ways of seeing, by the vantage point of the viewer,the availability of a view, and the particular access to it.

Many “facts” ± and certainly the meaning of all “facts” ± are contestable. So, the tension between scepticism and conviction introduces the vital, creative interplay between ways of seeing.Humanness bestows on us a desire to know ± a duty to remember, if you like ± but also a temptation to forget, an inclination and sometimes a need to put things behind us. And it falls to the historian and the teacher of history to negotiate the challenges that remembering and forgetting pose for society. Chinua Achebe in his Steve Biko Memorial lecture at the University of Cape Town last month reminded us of the horror visited upon the imaginative and far-sighted by George Orwell’s novel, 1984. It may be argued that the complete totalitarianism of Orwell’s conception was not any-where realised by the year 1984, yet there were, in the South Africaof the mid-1980s, signs of Orwell’s dreadful vision. Perhaps, at the time, it was not properly recognised by all who lived under it. And the clue to this historical ± and, indeed, moral ± oversight is arguably provided by Orwell himself when he writes in this very novel that “he who controls the present, controls the past, and he who controls the past, controls the future.”

Yet it is not always a weapon available only to the repressive government that seeks by cynical forgery to re-imagine the true nature of its being, the spurious foundation of its own power.

The excellent histories conceived and published even while the authoritarianism intensified were matched by the preservation of memory in myriad ways by countless people who, conceivably,could not read or write, yet were conscious agents in resisting the denial of who they were and what they wished to be. Orthodoxies were challenged, pretenders and self-declared heroes were mocked and brought down to size, neglected narratives were spoken.

Yet, in the minds of many ± and not only the beneficiaries of privilege ± hygienic history that was intended to justify the selective advantage of apartheid and the systematic brutality of which it depended settled like a sediment and hardened into a bedrock of ignorance and bigotry.

What makes this challenging is that too much of history teaching today follows the pattern of the past: rote learning, lack or imagination, lack of excitement and, ultimately, a lack of interest among pupils. We have got to change this. We are committed to restoring the stature of history as a vital subject. But its vitality depends on the manner in which it is taught, the degree to which South Africans are enlivened by it.

As the History and Archaeology Panel has expressed it, “It i snot memory-based repetition that needs to be credited, but rather the skill of knowing and deploying key facts in order to craft an overall historical understanding.” This is the goal we must go after.

In SA there are four more experts in western, white South African and colonial history than there are in black South African history. Among registered professionals in the field, only 10 percent have some expertise in African history ± that is, the history of African countries other than South Africa.

Let us look afresh at the history of our society. We have vital things to say to one another, vital things to discover about ourselves, and there is an inestimable value in that vigorous talk, the disputes among histories.

In this way, history offers an exciting, demanding challenge to young minds especially, but also to the whole of society, to engage consciously in the project of self-discovery and self-realisation.There is no surer basis for self-respect, and thus for tolerance,than a familiarity with history, for in confronting what has made us, we come to know ourselves, we banish illusion, we proceed by assured revelation of our multiple pasts, we confirm where-value lies.

Resource materials

The latest Then/Hier bulletin for your attention!



The High Stakes of Remembering The Past in the South African History & Social Sciences Classroom: Creating A Way Forward For White Staff & Students – (PDF Format, 52 kb)

The Historical Consciousness of Afrikaner adolescents – a small scale survey – (PDF Format, 163 kb)


Plaaslike geskiedenis as ‘n genre vir sekondêre geskiedenis onderrig met verwysing na spesifieke bronnemateriaal beskikbaar in Laudium. – (PDF Format, 58 kb)

The Layering of History – (PDF Format, 39 kb)




In the beginning…. Where to start in history teaching? – (PDF Format, 111 kb)

An analysis of Grade 10 history assessment tasks – (PDF Format, 57 kb)


Unfair “affirmative action” in South African historiography – (PDF Format, 27 kb)


Relaxing with rubrics – (PPT Format, 25 kb)

Historical Consciousness and Historical Culture – the views of Afrikaner adolescents – (PDF Format, 17 kb)

Learners, teachers, professors and historical consciousness. – (PDF Format, 38 kb)

The “how to” of History teaching with and through music in the GET Phase – (PDF Format, 174 kb)





The “how to” of History and Social Sciences teaching and training in the 21st century South Africa – (PDF Format, 19 kb)


Mandela Song – (PDF Format, 21 kb)

Structure, role and impact

Structure, role and impact


Six regional branches were identified from the onset as it was probably seen as the most practical and effective way to ensure a wider membership interest and activity. They were:

  • Northern Transvaal (including Venda, Lebowa, Kwandebele, Kangwane and Gazankulu);
  • Southern Transvaal;
  • Eastern Transvaal and the Orange Free State (including Bophuthatswana and Qwa Qwa);
  • Natal (Incl. KwaZulu);
  • Eastern Cape (Incl. Transkei and Ciskei);
  • Western Cape, Northern Cape and South West Africa/Namibia.

Exactly how the young SASHT envisaged these branches to operate is uncertain. This initiative started to wane somewhere along the line, with the result that the request had to be explored once again after a general meeting discussion.

A difficulty perceived from the first conference in 1988 at the University of Stellenbosch was how to involve primary and secondary educators from other provinces in subject/discipline development and knowledge exchange opportunities like these. Eventually SASHT conferences mainly operated as an opportunity for educators from a specific SASHT branch to attend, although a very low percentage from other branches always participated. Financial difficulties, and the original time of year at which conferences were held (such as the US conference that was held at the end of January) , were burdens and not ideally suited to the needs of teachers, but rather those of their tertiary colleagues.

Structure related to constitutional issues

Some decisions that were identified in sources:

  • The chairperson (see Appendix B for historical detail on SASHT chairpersons and the executive) could originally be nominated for 4 years The executive members should be domiciled close to each other. The more executive nominations were proposed from all over the country the more difficult (financially and communication-wise) it became to have proper meetings in person on a regular basis. The availability of e-mail, SMS and Internet opportunities removed some obstacles but not all, as some SASHT members (rural and urban) still only operate on snail mail addresses.
  • Conferences would be held bi-annually, and the executive elected for 2 years (from conference to conference).
  • According to the constitution of the SASHT Section 3, p. 1, the official languages are English and Afrikaans.
  • Membership fees: Started with R15 per annum in 1986 and by 2006-2007 the fees amounted to R120 (theoretically a growth of an average of R10 per annum).
  • In 1996 the language accessibility of the SASHT was discussed. At a general meeting in 1998 (in Cape Town) it was decided that in future the general SASHT meeting would be conducted only in English. In a sense this arrangement also spontaneously became the protocol since then, without any specific voting or decision making in this regard.

After 2000 the SASHT constitution “in its absentia” (or what was spontaneously known as the SASHT’s constitutional way of doing) was in many ways not followed or adapted. Changes essential for survival were made from time to time without consultation or consideration of a specific constitution. The need for a newly developed constitution was discussed during the September 2006 conference. A proposal was discussed in 2007 and formally accepted in 2008.

Recruitment and the problems of recruitment were always on the agenda of General meetings. Eventually the success of recruitment very much lay in the hands of the secretary or treasurer who had to market the Association among potential members and remind existing members to continue their membership. With a very low working budget (R15 per member, and by 1998 R20) it became extraordinarily difficult to cover all costs of marketing (electronic reminders included), sending of Newsletters an so forth. The membership fee was eventually raised to compare better to that of other similar associations and to achieve more.

SASHT role

The SASHT decided to follow the path/focus of History as discipline in general when it was decided to determine the role of the SASHT. The role of History in general will always be to serve:

  • the general community;
  • the educational sector;
  • History as science
  • in the best/most improved or innovative ways of the time.

For the newly founded SASHT in 1986 the purpose of its existence was mainly to:

  • improve contacts between educators of training at tertiary level with teachers in the broad educational field;
  • renew training in the didactics/methodology of History education;
  • utilise the expertise of educators teaching History to assist with the training of future History teachers;
  • debate continuously the content of basic and advanced educational programmes in the training of History teachers with the intention to continue to improve quality;
  • make History educators and student teachers aware of the relation between History as academic discipline and the didactics/methodology of teaching History at school level to keep abreast with development and academic debates;
  • encourage educators of History to strive towards achieving and sustaining high academic standards in the teaching methodology and approach towards, amongst others, controversial topics;
  • make educators of History and student teachers in History aware of the relevance/value of History for the existence of communities and nations in general.

The basic activities of the SASHT were the publication of Yesterday and Today and the organising of a bi-annual conference. In a sense a recognition of changed times and a need for having regular workshops (also then to act as a marketing opportunity for the SASHT) were neglected in the past. The year 2006 marked the beginning of a new approach towards History workshops within the SASHT of which the fruit will be evaluated in the years to come.


In general the presence of the SASHT eventually had to, amongst other things, be reflected in the i) SASHT membership enrolment (see Appendix A) ii) the Yesterday and Today content iii) general newspapers iv) education departments and v) tertiary educational activities.

As official voice of the SASHT since 1990, Yesterday and Today has entered a difficult second decade after a relatively smooth and successful first decade in the nineteen eighties. Some of the regular financial contributors reduced their support from 1991, and the editorial team had to rely on schools for an annual fee. Furthermore, the closing down of the Goudstad Teachers Training College (GOK) during the same year required a new venue for the formatting and editing of Yesterday and Today that J.M.L. Horn was tasked with since the very early years of the journal. From 1992 the History Department of the University of Stellenbosch took the burden as new editor of Yesterday and Today on its shoulders with Prof. Pieter Kapp as editor. Although the change of editors hardly caused any interruption in the appearance and the production of Yesterday and Today, the publication dates of the two annual issues changed from April to May and from September to October. This arrangement was simply for practical reasons to ensure that the Journal could also cover the September conferences in the 2nd edition of Yesterday and Today instead of waiting for the next year’s edition in doing so.

An interruption and eventual discontinuation of Yesterday and Today became inevitable in 1997. After desperate efforts, such as sending membership forms to 4400 schools and receiving only 77 willing to subscribe, an impossible negativity crept into well-meant efforts to keep a dream alive. In total 241 subscribers had been recalled by 1995. The 1996 conference in Potchefstroom in conjunction with the SAHA, was a last-ditch attempt to recruit teachers and History academics for the journal as well as for the SASHT (as seen from a SASHT executive angle). Apart from the fact that the Yesterday and Today articles became perhaps a bit too intellectual and less classroom-focussed for some teachers since the 1996 conference, no extraordinary recruitment progress was made. The impact that rumours at the time (of “no school history in future”), had on educators of History should also serve as a reason why hopes for increasing subscription to Yesterday and Today by December 1997 were futile.

The “will History disappear?” question, as well as a concern about the future of History in “Curriculum 2005”, and, for that matter, the question of an expanded future for History educators, steadily became issues affecting the future survival of Yesterday and Today that its editorial had to combat. To them 1997 was a crisis year. So much was to be debated but the financial burden of insufficient support, as well as a declining SASHT membership, led to an uphill battle to keep Yesterday and Today alive. Perhaps the complexities and uncertainties with regard to History’s future in schools indeed affected History in the GET and FET educational phases more than was expected by HET educators. The editor of Yesterday and Today, Professor Kapp, in 1997 wrote the following to subscribers:

For the past seventeen years this journal was produced through efforts of individuals who took a keen interest in the teaching of History. Producing the journal twice a year depended almost entirely on the editor. Dwindling subscriptions and the rising cost of paper, printing and postage forced the Editorial Board to decide at its 1996 meeting to discontinue the Journal at the end of that year. The editorial staff, however, decided to risk another year of publication. We have now reached the stage where we have to decide whether we can run a risk for another year…We are convinced that history teachers will need professional guidance and assistance to interpret new developments concerning the position of History in the school curriculum and understanding new trends in the interpretation and teaching of history. We pledge to make a positive practical contribution to your needs. But we need your support. We must have 500 subscribers to continue with the journal…

With a declining membership in the SASHT itself (100 by 1998 and approximately 55 that attended the conference at St Stithians), it was hard to believe that the journal’s pledge would be met in 1998. The SASHT organised a conference in September 1998 in Cape Town at the South African Cultural History Museum that was attended by 55 people. The concerns that resulted from this conference included the SASHT’s inability to communicate to its members what the key discussions were. Among the limited working force of a chairperson (R. Siebörger) and the secretary/treasurer (ES van Eeden) it was decided to develop a SASHT newsletter as temporary replacement for the absence of a journal like Yesterday and Today.

The first SASHT Newsletter was published in March 1998, and was followed by another in July 1998. In a sense this “emergency measurement” eventually lasted eight years, and the History developments over these years were covered in 10 Newsletters. Originally only 6-10 pages of content were printed in A5 format, but by 2005 a reasonable A4 publication of more than 30 pages was sometimes distributed to members. New History teaching trends (such as World History; Outcomes Based History and an involvement of SASHT members in South Africa’s History Curriculum development) are recorded.

For the SASHT the year 2006 will always be remembered as a time when it received a second chance to revive Yesterday and Today (then known as Yesterday & Today) with funds made available for 2006-2007 by the North-West University (NWU). In March 2006 a special edition was published that mainly covered some papers that were presented at the September 2005 conference. The hope was expressed that publishers, schools, tertiary History departments/subject groups as well as individuals would once again, as in the eighties and early nineties, be willing to invest in their discipline/subject to ensure the survival of Yesterday and Today. With Yesterday & Today ‘s new appearance and warm, colourful cover, it wanted to symbolise man and its history as an inevitable past and future process. A website was also launched for the Society which makes it the first of its kind among Historical Societies in South Africa. In 2010 an application to accredit the Journal will serve at the DoE for a possible approval. This step will enhance possibilities to obtain sufficient funds to publish the journal on an annual basis. An SASHT Newsletter also revived again to expose more educators countrywide to the activities of the journal.

The SASHT and aspects of inclusion, exclusion and non-participation as possible implications for belonging/not belonging

For all theoretical and practical purposes, the activities of the SASHT since 1986 were given some impetus by the new publication Yesterday and Today in 1981. The approach to participation and involvement in this Journal is significant as it was eventually carried forward in 1990 to the SASHT executive approach and structure. Therefore it is worthwhile browsing through the 34 editions of the Journal in an effort to spot specific trends or ideological approaches other than the methodological discussion of content that featured prominently at the time.

Writing about black people, black involvement?

Coincidentally it is Mr Jimmy Verner (the present chairperson of the SASHT) who was the first to specifically write about an aspect of the History of black people in South Africa in a 1985 edition of Yesterday and Today. The need for training of History teachers from black schools was also emphasised at History teaching symposia that Yesterday and Today supported and reported on.

Dr Simon Kekana, who was associated as an executive member of the SASHT after 1986, during this year became the first black academic in History to write no less than two articles for Yesterday and Today, titled: “The textbook and History teaching” and “University education and historical study for blacks” in which he focussed on the need for change of curriculum content.

In 1987 Prof. Herman Giliomee was the first white academic from a tertiary institution to write in Yesterday and Today about history writing and people’s history as far as the black people of South Africa are concerned. Thereafter more contributions followed that mainly focussed on Black student teacher’s historical understanding.

In essence the afore-mentioned contributions reflect aspects of inclusion before and after the founding of the SASHT. However, the question may be asked why it was only included three years after Yesterday and Today started as journal? As there must have been expertise on curriculum development from a wide academic sphere, it would have paid to approach this wider audience rather than choose the easier way of getting a few publications out to secure a membership first. In hindsight (and that is obviously always the best position to be in and respond, even if not all the logistical problems are known) this step required reflection on inclusiveness. This would eventually lead to unnecessary (though important in general) hang-ups among tertiary academic scholars on, for example, ideology, race and language, especially since some firmly believed that Yesterday and Today was an attachment of the former Historia Junior which they may have labelled as an exclusively white-centric approach to South Africa’s history. Perceptions on exclusion and non-participation could have been possible during these times and it could have reflected implications of not belonging.

SASHT Conferences & Yesterday and Today – the level of inclusiveness by the executive/editor(s)/organisers?

The very first SASHT conference (then called congress) during 29-30 January 1988 at the University of Stellenbosch, strikingly reflects a reasonable balance of 19 presenters between the then official language groups English (7 papers) and Afrikaans (12 papers), as well as the topics covered (16 on History teaching methodology issues and 3 from a History content/knowledge-based angle). What is also significant is that the presenters included Historians, tertiary Educators from a broader field than just History Didactics, and History teachers and academics from other disciplines and institutions.

The subsequent SASHT conference in 1990 at RAU was not only intended to commemorate the 10 successful years of Yesterday and Today’s existence, but also focussed on a key topic of the day, namely multiculturalism. Apart from having a speaker with international standing, namely Jörn Rüsen, to present the key address on education in a multicultural society, the memory of the attendance of a wide variety of interested groups/people endures. Among others they were the SASHT chairperson Dr Simon Kekana, Prof. Rob Siebörger (UCT) and a school teacher (also involved in textbook writing) Mr Bruce Mohamed.

At the 1992 conference held at the Mamelodi Campus of Vista University in Pretoria (also to serve as an accentuation of their 10 years of existence), 26 papers were delivered. From the variety of topics covered, it was clear that SASHT members exercised a freedom of right to debate contemporary educational trends, theoretical views as well as practical applications of History for the classroom, especially in an era of electronic development. Apart from the publication of most of these papers in Yesterday and Today, they (as was the method in 1988 and 1990) were also included in a conference publication. The quality of some papers apparently caused problems to the editors of Yesterday and Today who had difficulty to decide which ones met at least a reasonable publishing standard. In the years that followed this concern grew.

The September 1994 SASHT conference at the Wellington Teachers’ Training College featured at least 10 papers of a practical nature. At this stage a declining membership led to a decision to have a joint conference in January 1996 with the SAHA in Potchefstroom. In hindsight, it did not serve the actual purpose of strengthening the SASHT membership, neither did it reflect the approval of the majority of its members. The closure of Yesterday and Today in 1997 was also a depressing announcement. Somehow all these efforts of being inclusive and creating a sense of belonging may have reflected the opposite thinking, namely, i) the SASHT was not good enough to stand on its own feet; ii) some SASHT members did not want to have a joint conference with the HASA; iii) the closure of Yesterday and Today could have justified the majority’s supposition that the tertiary academics also won in their efforts regarding the future of History in schools. It may also be argued that the approach to the last editions of Yesterday and Today was far too academic for the majority of History teachers wanting to have practical guidelines on how to understand and teach History in the new democratic South Africa. In addition, the publishing of each and every article in Afrikaans and English from the mid-nineties was not only costly, but could have reflected perceptions of either multi-lingual inclusiveness or lingual exclusiveness, and even non-participation and/or a specific ideological/cultural focus – depending on your language preference/racial descent. Seen from these angles, aspects of exclusion and non-participation certainly featured, although it remains debateable whether it was ever the intention.

In 1998 Cape Town was the next conference venue. The attendance of 30 was regarded as poor seeing that 1500 invitations were distributed. This one-day conference was in many ways a mixture of theory and practice (that included a visit to the Alabany museum and Robben Island). Of crucial importance was the decision to have the general meeting in English and this has remained the status quo for the SASHT up to 2006. In many ways this step towards inclusiveness (as English was acknowledged as the voice for communication by the majority of academics regardless of race and in which mother tongue you were raised) was apparently much more acceptable to the majority of teachers who had to teach History in English. Obviously the use of English advantaged some more than others, but it is important to bear in mind that it could have been seen as a step towards inclusiveness by some whereas others could have experienced it as a step towards exclusion.

Membership difficulties and a SASHT executive management crisis led to the organising of a SASHT conference in 2001 instead of the regular biannual meeting. In many respects this also led to broader impressions that a RIP situation for the SASHT existed. Without being officially elected, Mr Jimmy Verner took over the responsibilities as SASHT chairperson after the resignation of Bruce Mohamed. St Stithians Girl’s College in Johannesburg (where Jimmy was a History teacher) was the only option at the time because Elize van Eeden then also moved from Potchefstroom to Pretoria after July 1998. In a sense this left the SASHT rootless as it was not specifically attached/connected to any tertiary institution that usually provides for the important infrastructure as required in any academic society. The 2001 conference was nevertheless quite fruitful in the sense that the future of History in the newly created learning area of Human and Social Sciences (HSS) was discussed, and that June Bam also addressed the SASHT members in her capacity as co-ordinator of the Social Sciences Working Group of the Ministry of Education. Practical issues in History methodology, useful to History teachers, still covered the main part of the conference papers. More importantly, from an angle of inclusiveness, this meeting featured more papers presented in languages other than Afrikaans. Another extraordinary decision that resulted from this meeting was that the acting chair and the secretary treasurer (respectively J. Verner and E. van Eeden), should continue to drive the SASHT in an emergency phase, because the number of members were too limited at this conference to make any purposeful recommendations on the way forward.

Perhaps new “competition” for the SASHT, as far as the recruitment of History teachers was concerned, was the existence of the South African History Project – spearheaded by the DoE. It was intended that the SAHP would found a national History Society, although nothing came of this intention.

The “restructuring” approach started with the organising of a SASHT workshop for 22-23 June at the Emfuleni Conference Centre at Vanderbijlpark and strongly (as well as financially) supported by the NWU and the DoE (Gauteng region) through Ms N. Parsaro. The overwhelming didactical focus was “Empowering the History teacher” in the classroom. As it was promised to be a practical workshop approach in the true sense of the word (and a very first experience of this kind for the SASHT), roughly 125 people attended. This historical event also marked an inclusiveness that academics and teachers were hoping for, for many years. Though a growth towards a still better understanding of the History educator’s needs, their historical and professional hardships as well as language issues still were requirements each and all in the profession could invest in for a healthy cooperation in future that will benefit the subject/discipline and not selfish preferences.

With a handful of loyal members, the 2003 conference of the SASHT was held at RAU (UJ). Approximately 36 people attended this conference. As an effort to approve the still unhealthy status of the Society, the attendance requested the newly appointed executive to explore the market for more members; that regional SASHT branches should be formed to organise regional workshops; and to meet with SAHP members and to organise national SASHT workshops. Mr Jimmy Verner was once again nominated as chairperson (and Van Eeden as secretary/treasurer) of the Society to add a “sense of solidness and strength to a still vulnerable Society”, despite some hope and progress. The rest of the SASHT executive reflected a sound inclusiveness from all over the country and from a variety of academic institutions.

Busy schedules and the difficulty of recruiting regional SASHT members to organise workshops in branches led to limited success in this regard. The 1995 SASHT conference at St. Marist in Durban followed, but was only attended by 20 people. The outcome, however, was very positive in the sense that the group wanted the SASHT to continue its activities. Regional assistance and marketing were offered by all. The detrimental decision of teachers that, for the time being, the NWU should operate as the seat for the SASHT just to give it a strong start, was accepted. With this in mind no less than three executive members were nominated from this University (one from the Potchefstroom Campus and two from the Vaal Triangle Campus). It was also decided to rather organise a conference for 2006 again than to wait for another two years before addressing more critical issues. That would prevent a continuous decline.

The “restructuring” approach started with the organising of a SASHT workshop for 22-23 June at the Emfuleni Conference Centre in Vanderbijlpark. It was strongly (as well as financially) supported by the NWU and the DoE (Gauteng region) through Dr N. Parsard. The overwhelming didactic focus was “Empowering the History teacher” in the classroom. As it was promised to be a practical workshop approach in the true sense of the word (and a very first experience of this kind for the SASHT), roughly 125 people attended. This historical event also marked an inclusiveness for which academics and teachers have been hoping for many years. Though growth towards a still better understanding of the History educator’s needs, their historical and professional hardships as well as language issues were still requirements, each and all in the profession could invest in a healthy cooperation in future that would benefit the subject/discipline and not selfish preferences.

For the September 2006 conference, the marketing process was much more thorough than ever in the past (as a result of the availability of an infrastructure) and effective (via the University website; SMS messages and personal calls). A website for the SASHT also operated from December 2006. As more money becomes available and a solid infrastructure can be developed, the SASHT should continue to grow from strength to strength. The Executive is now more positive about its future than in the last 8 years of existence of the Society.

By 2006 the SASHT list of members presented a balanced group of expertise from all racial and language groups. This has been the SASHT’s focus since foundation, and it remains its focus in 2010.

Themes in History and the History teaching methodology – the level of inclusiveness of contributions by editor(s)/writer(s)/member(s)

In many respects the approach to content in Yesterday and Today up to its abolishment was, and still is, a reflection of the thinking by SASHT members on the transformation/development needs of the subject/discipline of the day. From April 1981 to 1997 the article content in Yesterday and Today/Gister en Vandag could roughly be analysed as follows:

Number of editions: 34 (The special edition of 2006 excluded) Articles on History Teaching Methodology: 220 topics on how to apply local and contemporary history; maps, assessment in SA [in 1983 and 1984 already], sources, skills-based teaching, exam creativity; new teaching trends abroad; interdisciplinary methods; learning outcomes in SA (in 1990 already); bibliographies. Discussions on historical consciousness, teacher training; political literacy; reinterpretation; People’s History; teaching in multicultural communities; distance training; indoctrination; syllabus concerns; History teaching in other countries and in South Africa after 1994; computers and History; teaching controversial issues; World History and classroom differentiation are also prominent). Articles in Studies (in depth and broadly with only an indirect, if any, reference to History teaching) on History themes: 105 Afrikaans articles: 205 (a rough count) English articles: 120 (a rough count) Book reviews: (handled in all editions. Mainly on History publications)

From the statistics above it appears as if the articles on teaching methodology formed the bulk of the articles in Yesterday and Today and the papers presented at SASHT conferences (with a number of papers most of the time published in Yesterday and Today). Though Historical writing in its variety most of the time represents the perspective of a Historian, the bulk of the content in Yesterday and Today and at SASHT conferences never blatantly/explicitly promoted a specific race or language group in South Africa. However, the semantic approach to sustain an obsolete multi-perspective, empathetic approach to all historical content from all writers/participants cannot be confirmed. The acceptance that all contributors first of all wanted to promote the value of the subject/discipline as well as to exchange their experience/efforts to improve the teaching of History in many interactive ways, should never be questioned or evoke a perception of narrow-minded interpretations.

Openness to different interpretations and perceptions stimulated debate and eventually cultivated a more considerate approach to the past. In fact, SASHT members and participants from all language groups never shied away from debates like curriculum content and alternative suggestions, Apartheid and People’s History, the value of historical consciousness; changing South Africa’s history, and so forth. Furthermore, disappointment and frustration of the SASHT executive is recalled in that they were not able to include members from all academically active scholars as a result of perceptions and a fear that the South African past may be repeated or/and cultivated in the SASHT structures. For the SASHT their membership enrolment reflected a balance between historians and History educators from all race and language groups. This has been the SASHT executive’s vision since its foundation in 1986.

A typical example of the opportunity to openness is the personal response on the 1st SASHT conference at US in 1988 by the 1998-2006 chairperson, Mr Jimmy Verner, in Yesterday and Today:

…The opening address …discussion on the relevance of political literacy for schools…by a panel…composed of Prof. Trümpelmann of RAU, Prof. Stuart of UNISA and Prof. Kotzé of Stellenbosch. These are all Afrikaner academics and their common ground is too great for a really effective panel…My overall reaction was of an opportunity missed – the discussion was too theoretical and lacked the spice of divergent concepts of political literacy and its values. If the panel had been more disparate, for example, a Xhosa, a Coloured, an Englishman and an Afrikaner we might have come closer to the problems of what political literacy is and how to teach it…

To Mr Verner the listening to and following of papers in the “other” official language [Afrikaans] were just too tiresome as far as the “extra effort of concentration” was concerned. With this comment he probably accentuated the difficulties many had with any other language being used as a second or third language. Times have changed since, so that the language concern became more the concern of the presenter than that of the audience, but it is still not as effective as it can be because of the difficulties to accommodate all language groups at a conference.

Another obstacle that school educators experience within the SASHT (and even other History-related societies that were also supposed to accommodate History educators in schools) was the overwhelmingly theoretical approach to papers presented at SASHT conferences. Sometimes it appeared as if only History educators from tertiary institutions and not History teachers were willing to present papers on newly researched topics or issues of the day. Arguments such as that stage fright or a fear that longstanding scientific research is the master over experience and practical hands-on efforts inhibited teacher participation, cannot be excluded but it remains a pity. This trend of more theoretical discussions than the organising of workshops and hands-on ideas for classroom facilitating was also noticeable in the SASHT conferences that followed. Thus, in a sense a reference to a lack of academic inclusiveness was the order of the day.

In 1994, for the very first time since 1981, Yesterday and Today under the editorship of Prof. Pieter Kapp, published some papers that were delivered at a conference of the South African Historical Association. Its controversial nature, namely the future of History as school subject within the new dispensation, most probably was the reason for this decision. The fact that respondents (such as Dr Neville Alexander and Prof. B.J. Liebenberg) were asked to reply to articles by, for example, Prof. Kapp, Prof. Van Jaarsveld and Dr Broodryk, should be seen as an opportunity the Journal took to ensure an open debate. On the other hand it raised eyebrows on the competency of the SASHT at that stage to provide meaningful content as its voice for debate in its own journal. It was only in 1996 that the academic marriage of Yesterday and Today and the SASHT featured prominently in the journal. A reference to the SASHT or/and any conferences in Yesterday and Today, was noticeably lacking between 1994-1996.

In the 1994-1996 journals of Yesterday and Today article contributions from HET academics for, amongst others, HET History educators featured more prominently than ever before. The journal also became much bulkier (up to 80 pages). In his capacity as chairperson of the History Commission’s History Olympiad Committee within the South African Academy for Science and Arts structures, Prof. Kapp published the winners of this Olympiad on an annual basis. Great efforts were made by the editorial team since 1995 to publish articles of importance to a wider audience in both Afrikaans and English. Issues such as whether History will disappear in the new curriculum, the importance of History content, and how the development of Learning Outcomes since 1995-1996 must be interpreted, featured prominently. The SASHT newsletters from 1998 also prominently featured certain events and developments that concerned History (such as assessment, the SAHP, OBE and History, and so forth). The content focus was always that of all-inclusiveness of all History educators. However, a critical reflection may leave the perception of it being the other way around.

Within the structure of the SASHT it can perhaps also be argued that some members of the executive and/or some members within themselves may have cultivated a certain sense of not being “open” that sometimes came to the surface when least expected.

International associations

Apart from the SASHT’s connection with the Bielefeld University in West Germany from 1990, no other international connection is recalled. Prof. Jörn Rüsen from this University in 1990 delivered the key address at the SASHT (RAU) conference on Historical education in a multicultural society. His plea was for identifying a common identity to establish a national identity. With his extraordinary input The Georg Eckhardt Institute supported South Africa’s history financially (as part of their activities worldwide). They assisted by helping societies like the SASHT in bridging the gap between differences. As specialists in textbook analysis they certainly played an important role in ensuring a multiple perspective. The organising of such an international association and liaison could be regarded as an effort by the SASHT executive to operate as a society that is all-inclusive and to which the majority of educators should belong.

The SASHT members’ involvement in curriculum and other History-related changes

Despite a SASHT concern that a feeling of exclusion existed from time to time with regard to DoE structures on curriculum change and development since 1986, the SASHT (and some members/former members in their individual capacity) was always in some way involved in directing the way forward for History in the GET and FET phases. The following are some examples to recall a few achievements:

  • The first chairperson, Prof. Trümpelmann, was involved in the compilation of a HSRC report on an alternative History curriculum in the late eighties. Some Yesterday & Today editorial team members were also involved.
  • A few SASHT executive members were actively involved in the development of Learning Outcomes for the HSS for implementing in the GET and FET phases. Dr June Bam (former SASHT executive member was involved in the working out of Curriculum 2005. She also later headed the South African History Project);
  • Prof. Rob Siebörger (former chairperson) played an important role, amongst others, in assisting in the way forward for assessment in Grade 12 as far as the sources approach is concerned. He was also involved in the development of Specific Outcomes for the Human and Social Sciences.
  • Elize van Eeden was a member of the first group that developed Learning Outcomes for the Human and Social Sciences; she was also member of the reference group with regard to curriculum development. She also proposed the implementation of world history in classrooms in a structured way before it was actually made part of the History curriculum. Her introduction of a new learning programme for “Practical History/Vocational History” in the FET phase, Grade 10-12, certainly has the ingredients to lead to the changing/adaptation of History curriculum themes in future to benefit History’s vocational value.
  • Mr Jimmy Verner (and others like Ms Gill Sutton and Van Eeden) are involved in the writing of History textbooks;
  • Prof. Kapp’s outstanding role in the 1981-1997 Yesterday & Today initiative and his memorable academic involvement for 17 years in promoting quality History teaching.

Sense of community, identity and memory

From the discussions in Yesterday and Today and at SASHT conferences it can be concluded that the Society always proved to be informed on the newest trends and prepared to debate issues that created concern. The History curriculum (old, new, interim and newly developed) always gave rise to debate. Similarly, historical consciousness, the influence of ideologies and the value of political literacy were always critically assessed and/or debated. In 1992, for example, Yesterday and Today (as SASHT mouthpiece) raised its concern and doubts about the new curriculum suggestions that the DoE intended to phase in as Social Studies. The defending of History as independent, autonomous and essential subject in any school curriculum can be traced in the Journal since then.

From a community perspective, it is always difficult to obtain a representative view on the thinking about History, although Yesterday and Today published letters from readers and FET learners on a regular basis. These letters were mostly along the lines of “I love History/I don’t love History” followed by some form of explanation. In essence negative feedback also forced educators to rethink and market their profession in History. Creativity and renewal were expected, and communication on the value of History was often exchanged during conferences and in Yesterday and Today.

Not enough appeared on the improvement of History teaching at tertiary level in Yesterday and Today up to the termination of publications in 1997. At SASHT conferences a number of papers were presented that also focussed on HET educational improvement. In hindsight, however, much more could have been done in this phase because tertiary academics are not necessarily effective in a classroom situation even though they may be masters of knowledge.

A new page to be reviewed?: The Yesterday&Today revival, 2006-2009

Perhaps 2011, when the SASHT will celebrate its 15th conference, could serve as a podium to reflect its own past and doings through its conferences, its Newsletters and Yesterday&Today publication through the means of a session during this conference that will be held at the University of South Africa.