Since the first official strides to ensure a space for teaching History as outlined earlier, it appears as though some practitioners of the subject/discipline have always been willing to function constructively within the security of an academic association, specifically focused on History development and History issues. In 1913 such an association was formed by the two tertiary institutions mentioned earlier. Unfortunately, ideological differences between the Dutch-Afrikaans and English language groups, exacerbated perhaps by the uncertainties associated with these years as a result of World War I, meant that this well-meant effort was sunk in 1916.
Tensions between political parties during these times eventually resulted in History teaching being declared non-committal during the period 1918-1948 as far as official History syllabi in schools were concerned. Nevertheless, this drawback did not affect the production of History publications by academics.
During this period the Ministry of Education and a variety of associations were involved in educational activities that also benefited History to a lesser and/or greater extent. Cultivation of the development of History as subject for community purposes (especially ensuring that learners develop a historical consciousness), was a central focus.
Past ideological differences between the language groups still lingered on by the time the National Party took power in 1948. No official national historical association in South Africa existed as an independent voice from the government’s educational structures in 1950. Once again, the teaching community felt the need for a historical association most strongly. Perhaps the Department of Education’s announcement of the implementation of a new integrated subject, namely Social Studies, also triggered the defence mechanisms of all History practitioners – and perhaps also created another platform for differences in this regard.
Despite some constraints, the enthusiastic Inspector of Schools during those days, Dr. J.J. van Tonder, took the initiative and on 11 February 1956 all his efforts came to fruition when the Historical Association of South Africa (HASA) was founded by 400 people in the City Hall of Pretoria. Although HASA generated excitement among primary and secondary History educators, it eventually became the mouthpiece for tertiary History educators/Historians, and was especially dominated for years by concerned white historians from the historically Afrikaans universities as far as its conferences, articles (in its journal Historia) and its administrative management were concerned. Concern among Historians that HASA still had an overwhelming focus on History educators and History teaching issues, resulted in another foundation effort – 1965 –by historians of both official language groups in Bloemfontein. The South African Historical Society (SAHS) was formed by 37 historians of whom 6 were English.
It was firmly believed that both HASA and the SAHS had a function to fulfil that should complement each other. In practice, however, this “difference” in function was not easy to define, especially if the production of articles and publications of both (not even talking about its membership that reflects similarity) are criteria. Fact is that historians had to establish for themselves to what degree they wanted to be associated with the people they had trained (directly and indirectly) who found themselves in primary and secondary education (nowadays General Education and Training – GET and Further Education and Training – FET). Meanwhile, from 1978 the History educators were floating desperately between both these History ventures in search of a permanent identity, needing more practical hands-on assistance from professionals in the Higher Education and Training Band. Apart from Historia Junior, at least still in operation, other useful History teaching information lay scattered between journals such as Historia, Die Unie, Neon, Mentor, Tydskrif vir Middelbare Onderwys, Standpunte, Skoolblad, Educa, Onderwysblad and Onderwysbulletin. Historians and History educators with English as mother tongue published articles related to History teaching in journals such as Perspectives in Education, Education and Educational Review.
Divided perspectives and perceptions among the practitioners on the school History curriculum did not contribute to set a healthy platform for History activities within a society structure. HASA’s Historia Junior journal declined in the seventies. Perhaps its primary focus on South African History was a reason, although it has to be acknowledged that the retirement of Dr Van Tonder also had an impact. Perhaps the unfortunate absence of open-minded, balanced and/or representative perspectives has kept the ideological argument between historians from tertiary institutions and History teachers alive, with no unity in sight.
As a “last” effort in his professional capacity, Dr Van Tonder approached the former Rand Afrikaans University to take responsibility for the production of Historia Junior. This never happened, but a counter-initiative resulted from this plea and also probably the sense of a wider need among school History educators from all languages and races. In its first editorial note this new initiative, named Yesterday and Today, financially supported by the HASA, reflected concern over History as a declining subject because of the existing need to serve the educational community with creative and useable articles, having no intention to support any official viewpoint. It is also interesting to note that symposiums and seminars on History teaching, organised by tertiary institutions, took place from time to time outside the ambit of existing history associations or societies.
Tertiary academics, also involved in Yesterday and Today, organised a conference for History practitioners (didactics) at Unisa in July 1985. During this conference the first strides were made to establish a society for History teacher training.
In September 1985, Yesterday and Today reported as follows:
Society for the training of History teachers almost a reality
There was widespread enthusiasm for the idea of a Society of this nature. It was felt that a closer interaction between the different institutions and groups should be established. Accordingly a pilot committee consisting of Prof. M.H. Trümpelmann (RAU), Dr F.J. Stuart (Unisa) and Mr J.M.L. Horn (GOK) was elected to proceed with the drafting of a concept constitution and the planning of administrative arrangements. It is hoped that the proposed society will be a reality in 1986.
With a healthy and growing circulation of approximately 400 members of Yesterday and Today at hand (which can be regarded as proof of its need in especially primary and secondary education), another conference initiative by didactics specialists and historians, held in July 1986, finally prepared the ground for the founding of a society for History teachers.
The groundwork for this society was done by the History Teaching Methodology/Didactics specialists of RAU, Unisa and the Teaching Colleges of Goudstad, Pretoria and Johannesburg. At this conference (Unisa) the South African Society for History Teaching/Suid-Afrikaanse Vereniging vir Geskiedenisonderrig was founded. The name of the Society appears to have been used in two ways. Initially, from the date of its founding until at least 1988 when the first conference at US took place, it was referred to as the Society for the Training of History Teachers. During the annual meeting of the SASHT executive at US, the name change was accepted. By the time the 1992 conference took place, the new name of the Society was widely used. This change was apparently made to ensure that the Society’s focus was also inclusive of tertiary history educators from the History Didactics/Teaching Methodology and History Departments (See Appendix A for a Conference venue detail). For many years the SASHT did not use a specific logo to identity itself. After Yesterday and Today officially became part of the SASHT activities, this journal’s identity was spontaneously used for the SASHT as well.
|MR. PATRICK MCMAHON|
|Date of birth: 20 September 1952.|
|Place of birth: Durban, South Africa.|
|Educational, Historical and Curriculum Activities outside school:
|Other Achievements in School:
Simon Haw was born in Johannesburg in 1946 and after schooling at Parkview Junior, Estcourt Junior and Estcourt High School, he attended the University of Natal in Pietermaritzburg, where he obtained a BA (Hons) and a B.Ed. He taught for the next 20 years first at Wartburg-Kirchdorf High School and subsequently at Maritzburg College where he was head of history. In 1990 he was promoted to the head office of the Natal Education Department as an educational researcher and subsequently became a history subject advisor. Since his retirement he has run courses for the Department of Education, worked for Umalusi, taken history tour, written textbooks from Grade 5 to Grade 12, and worked as a sub-editor for The Witness. He has written histories of Maritzburg College, the Natal Education Department and The Natal Witness and is currently busy with an update of the Maritzburg College book.
|SASHT Chairperson, 1997-2009|
|History teacher for 40 years (currently teacher at St Bishops Bavin in Johannesburg)|
|JMB sub-examiner 1973-1984|
|IEB sub-examiner 1995 to 2004 and again in 2007|
|Served on various IEB and other committees related to history teaching as well as contributing to various historical journals at different times.|
|Co-author of the History for All series of textbooks for the FET phase.|
|Member, Olympiad, South African Academy for Science and Art, 1987-2001.|
Mr. J.A. Verner
12 Klip Street
The Annual SASHT Conference, 23rd and 24th September 2011 (JPG Format, 72Kb)
The Annual SASHT Conference, 25th and 26th September 2009 (PDF Format, 754Kb)
The Annual SASHT Conference, 26th and 27th September 2008 (PDF Format, 14Kb)
The Annual SASHT Conference, 21 – 22 September 2007 (PDF Format, 14Kb)
Die SASHT het op 21-22 September sy 20e jaar van bestaan gevier toe die 10e konferensie in Potchefstroom gehou is. In 1996 het dié Vereniging, wat die gerig is op die kwaliteit van geskiedenisonderrig landwyd op alle vlakke van die onderwys, ook sy tiende verjaarsdag met sy 5e konferensie in Potchefstroom gevier.
Sowat 30 referente en 100 geskiedenisopvoeders van oral oor die land het die 20e SASHT-konferensie bygewoon. Hoë lof is uitgespreek rakende die professionele wyse waarop die konferensie deur veral me. Melinda du Toit en Pieter Warnich georganiseer is. Die gehalte van die referate is in die algemeen as die beste in jare beskou. Wat ook besonder prysenswaardig is, is dat alle opvoedingsinstansies gemoeid met Geskiedenisonderrig weer ordentlik begin hande vat om die vak en disipline van Geskiedenis tot verdere hoogtes te lei.
Oor die konferensietema The ‘how to’ of History teaching in 21st century South Africa het prominente referente soos Proff. Albert Grundlingh (US), Fransjohan Pretorius (UP) en mnr. Eddie Smuts (van US en veral gemoeid met die Graad 12 eksamineringsproses) hulle ervaring en navorsing gedeel. Dit was egter Fransjohan se referaat Unfair ‘affirmative action’ in South African historiography” wat ore laat spits het:
I have some concern that the Afrikaner does not figure in the “New History” books on South African history, except as the scapegoat and the villain. The Afrikaner is ignored particularly in the historiography covering the nineteenth century. For most non-Afrikaans historians South African history has become the suffering, struggle and eventual victory of the suppressed masses, that is, African or black history – the African struggle. Afrikaners are judged and condemned in negative terms. Just like there was a “native problem” in Afrikaner national historiography, there is now an “Afrikaner problem”. The Afrikaner has achieved nothing positive in the history of South Africa. The pendulum has indeed swung to the other side. For the victor reconciliation seems to mean that the view of the majority has triumphed. There is no room for other views beside the “official’ view. This intolerant new view on history is nowhere better illustrated than in a series of six history books published by the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation with the overall title of Turning points in history. And do not underestimate the impact of this series. In the latest matriculation examination paper for history (higher grade, October/November 2005) of the National Department of Education it was expected of learners to comment on an extract from Turning points in history.
Ander referente het die gesprek oor die noodsaaklikheid van ‘n multi-perspektiwiese geskiedenis verder beklemtoon in meer as een bespreking oor die noodsaaklikheid van ‘n historiese begrip by leerders. Dr. Johan Wasserman (U-KZN), Durban se voordrag oor die historiese begrip van veral blanke leerders (siende dat alle leerders teen 2007 binne die nuwe demokratiese bedeling begin skoolgaan het) was insiggewend. Ander “how to” –besprekings het ook ingesluit hoe om met die apartheidsverlede te deel, hoe om rekenaartegnologie in te span (prof. Hennie Steyn) en hersiene moontlikhede vir die praktykmaking van Geskiedenisinhoude om inderdaad ook ‘n beroepsgerigte dissipline te wees. Die Gautengse Departement van Onderwys met Dr. Nishana Parsard aan die woord, het net hoë lof vir die veral die drie NWU historici en geskiedenisvakdidaktici op die SASHT bestuur gehad vir die wyse waarop hulle doelgerig tot kwaliteit onderwysopleiding meewerk. Groter samewerking met die DoE word in die toekoms verwag. Die SASHT beoog ook om in die toekoms meer indringend te kyk na onder meer die nuwe geskiedenishandboeke waarvan die grootste meerderheid Graad 12 handboeke van bekende uitgewers eers in 2008 op die rakke sal wees.
Last year in Durban I indicated that I was concerned that so many stakeholders in history were not getting involved and that I felt the Society was fighting it alone in many aspects of the promotion of History teaching. I am pleased to see things more positively this year after what I believe has been a particularly good year for the SASHT. Let me explain:
Although there were not as many people as we would have liked at the September Conference last year, it was an stimulating experience and was responsible for a new dynamic emerging in the society. Many of the talks given there have been collected into a special edition of Yesterday and Today which is the first volume of what we hope will be a return to regular publication of this journal which had been the first tangible sign of the newly created SASHT when it first appeared in 1981.
The Durban conference which was largely the work of Prof Elize van Eeden brought together a mix of the tongue-in-cheek humour of Patrick Macmahon’s reflection of his twenty plus years of examining at matric level to serious analyses of the problems facing the teachers of the new FET syllabus; the use of the internet and other new technologies and the need to integrate our teaching with that of other disciplines. The conference focussed mainly on the FET and the problems associated with its implementation with large classes, disadvantaged pupils and the need for passion in order to “sell” our subject to learners against an increasing number of subject option many of which seem far more glamorous or more obviously useful.
Out of the Durban Conference came the decision to investigate the possibility of holding both a teachers’ workshop and a conference in 2006 and I am pleased to say that both of these plans have materialised. (In the past we have only held a conference every other year so this is a major change in policy). The Teacher’s Workshop held in June at the Vanderbijl campus of the North West University brought a strong Gauteng Education Department presence with it which contributed to the success of that workshop. The theme of the workshop was Empowering the History Educator and was held on 22-23 June.
Its one and a half days should probably have been extended to two full days to do justice to the input provided. In his welcome, Prof. Tienie Vermeulen, Director of the School of Educational Sciences at North-West University stressed the importance of history both as a means of propaganda and as the means of countering this by developing critical thinking and problem solving skills. It was part of the responsibility of the history educator to make learners see history as dynamic and useful not boring as it may well have been for their parents in days where school assessment of history relied largely on rote learning.
Prof. Elize van Eeden looked at the value of history in the 21st century in a motivational discourse. and commented on issues like teacher morale and the political nature of much of the content of the new FET syllabus but assured us that history is important to every field of study. It trains the mind, develops a multi-perspective approach to thinking and improves judgement. She looked at possible ways in which the skills of history could be developed in a more practical way with a little careful teacher manipulation of the present curriculum so as to create an historical bridge between different fields of study. The problems of standards of assessment she dealt with a later paper.
We explored history games and simulations with Ms Valdi van Reenen of the DoE, Western Cape. This included an interesting game that she had developed with Vernon Titus based on the story of Robben Island. This Human Rights board game uses the history of Robben Island to explore issues of human rights and prejudice.
An early lunch was followed by a look at the need to integrate history teaching with electronic media such as the internet while exploring the links with other subjects such as tourism and environmental studies. A few technical flaws detracted from the effectiveness of an interesting presentation. A workshop presentation on effective questioning by Dr Louisa Meyer and Peter Warnich of the North-West University followed.
Prof. van Eeden then gave us an interesting and informative analysis of the grade 12 examinations over the past few years (2003-5) as well as some useful tips on the use of rubrics. A fairly ‘dense’ talk in terms of content but as we had it as a handout it was relatively easy to follow. Of especial use were the examples of rubrics and sources with the issues they raised.
Unfortunately by this time we were running late and in order to accommodate the scheduled bus tour the talk by Michelle Friedman had to be cut short. She looked at the issues of the support and teaching material becoming available from the South African Historical Association. Most of this is on the opposition to apartheid by the UDF and other groups. Because of the rush the talk lacked its impact but we were given fairly comprehensive notes on the issues and the possible use of SAHA material and how it can be integrated into our normal teaching.
The bus tour was followed by a braai and sleep. Friday’s programme was pure workshop where the teachers were divided into groups and given a set task of preparing a lesson on a given topic. Each group had a different lesson to prepare. A short (15min) presentation of the outline of how they would approach it in terms of OBE requirements would be assessed by a panel of adjudicators.
And so we move on to this conference which has again been co-ordinated and organised by the team from North West University. Especial thanks go to Melinda du Toit and Pieter Warnich and their team for all the work they have done in putting this conference together; to our sponsors (listed on the programme) and to our hosts at Potchefstroom campus of the North West University and to the rest of the executive team of the SASHT to whom I owe a debt of gratitude as I alone seem to enjoy a sinecure and do nothing while all around are busy.
The agenda shows that this is not the end and we are looking at launching our own SASHT website and to increasing co-operation with other history societies and initiatives and so it looks as if the society is growing stronger and looking forward to a great future.
Content for newspaper report on the History Workshop for teachers that was held under the auspices of the North West University (Vaal Triangle Campus) together with the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) and South African Society for History Teaching (SASHT)
On 22-23 June 130 History educators from all over Gauteng assembled at the Emfuleni conference in Vanderbijlpark centre to attend a History workshop titled “Empowering the History Educator”. Academics and administrative personnel at the North West University and the Emfuleni Conference Centre worked closely together with the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) and the South African Society for History Teaching (SASHT) to organize the successful two-day practical-focused workshop.
The workshop started with real innovative ideas for the application of History in the 21st century, especially how to access the vocational aspect of History in classrooms. Prof. Elize van Eeden introduced content that enriches a Grade 10-12 learning programme with the intention to implement “Vocational History” that will be explored in future after expanded negotiations with educators and the National and provincial education department’s expertise.
After Prof. Van Eeden’s well- received motivational discourse, some practical sessions focused on new and current methodology issues. Amongst others, they were Ms. Valdi van Reenen from the Western Cape’s meaningful simulations and games practical; Dr. Mary Ntabeni & Ms Luiza’s presentations on interdisciplinary History teaching and the retrieval of content through valuable electronic sources; Mr. Pieter Warnich’s lively presentation on how to utilize sources in assessment; Dr. Louisa Meyer’s active practical on how to phrase questions effectively by means of a play and Ms. Michele Friedman’s valuable insight on the ‘how’ to use and understand teaching support material in History. A good deal of time and insight was also exchanged and spend on lesson development and assessment in general. Dr. Nishana Parsard of the GDE had synthesised all the presentations and educational strings skillfully and efficiently together in her summary of the Workshop and her innovative vision on how to deal with the many educational needs in History in future. Thanks to her enthusiasm and arrangements, some of the leading History teachers attended and made valuable contributions during practical sessions.
Teachers afterwards expressed the wish that practical History workshops of this nature should be organized more often. It was remarked that the motivation and hopes obtained from the workshop with regard to History’s future could only benefit all to be proud and more efficient in the professional space history teachers fill. The SASHT and NWU academics in History will follow up on more workshops in close cooperation with the GDE. A SASHT conference will be held on 21-22 September at the PUK-Campus of the NWU in Potchefstroom. It was promised that some of the papers that were dealt with during the History workshop at Emfuleni will be followed up on. Amongst others, Mr Eddie Smuts will also attend to present a paper on Gr 12-assessment.
Verskroeide Aarde / Scorched Earth (PDF, 52k)
World History And Films (PDF, 23k)
Cornia Pretorius, Onderwysverslaggewer
MinisterofEducation,ProfessorKaderAsmal,giveshisviewson history, memory and human progress
Mnr. Dewald Klaasen
18 February 2006 10:28 PM
From: Sam Gellens
Horace Mann School (Bronx, NY)
Certainly the very accurate re-enactment of the battle of Omdurman in “The Four Feathers” (1939) is worth showing regarding Britain’s struggle with the Mahdist forces in the Sudan and the firepower of European armies. Ditto for some scenes from “Zulu” (1962). From the Dutch side, there is the film, “Max Havelaar”, which is based on the famous novel of the same name and the plot of which takes place in Java in the 1850s. The original Dutch film (early 1980s?) with English subtitles is hard to find on VHS/DVD so far as I know. What about selected scenes from the French film, “Indochine”, even though it takes place, I think, in French Indochina in the 1920s? Finally, there is the wonderfully funny French film, “Black and White in Color”, about what happens when news of WWI reaches neighboring French and German colonies in Africa? It really skewers the hypocrisy of colonialism.
18 February 2006 10:29 PM
Harvard Business School
The Man Who Would Be King (Sean Connery/Michael Caine) works on a lot of different levels.
I am looking for films appropriate for a freshman/sophomore world survey course that treats the subject of 19th-century colonialism/imperialism. Early-twentieth century would also work. The geographical area is entirely open. Do listmembers have any suggestions?
Thank you in advance
18 February 2006 10:31 PM
From: Kenneth Wilburn
East Carolina University
If you mean a documentary, I suggest Ali Mazrui’s “Tools of Exploitation,” Part 4, from “The Africans: A Triple Heritage” series.
18 February 2006 10:31 PM
I am looking for films appropriate for a freshman/sophomore world survey
course that treats the subject of 19th-century colonialism/imperialism. Early-twentieth century would also work. The geographical area is entirely open. Do listmembers have any suggestions?
18 February 2006 10:34 PM
The first 30 or so minutes of Zulu (the one with Michael Caine, ca. 1963) make for great conversations about imperialism in Africa.
18 February 2006 10:35 PM
Cerritos High School
One series comes to mind-“Africa” with Basil Davidson-Especially Parts 5 and 6-The Bible and the Gun and This Magnificent African Cake. The series was done in 1984 and I know some people have a problem with Davidson, but there is some great informantion and some great visuals.
Also, dealing with Southern Africa, there is the PBS Nova series “The Secrets of the Dead”. One of them “The Day of the Zulu” looks at two sides of the Battle of Isandlwana with a CSI approach.
18 February 2006 10:36 PM
Humboldt-Universitaet zu Berlin
I recently held an introductory course to the history of the British Empire and Commonwealth. In the last session of the course we watched the 1985 film “Water” starring Michael Caine. The film is an excellent satire on colonialism and many different aspects associated with it (“going native”, freedom fighters, American capitalists, environmentalism etc.). Apart from being great fun to watch, the film is rather uncompromising in highlighting the absurd logic of colonialism and imperialism.
The main drawback for you might be that neither does the film deal with 19th or 20th century colonialism (but with the 1980s and the remnants of Empire), nor is it very likely that freshmen with little prior knowledge of British or Colonial History will share many of the good laughs in the film. However, I highly recommend the film to everybody interested in colonialism.
Another option (if you have time enough) is “Lagaan” – a Bollywood production dealing mainly with the excesses of the British Raj in late 19th century India. In a very rich Indian style (with loads of singing and dancing) the film tells the story of an Indian village that suffers from the arbitrariness of the British commander-in-chief. It is
literally bled dry by the British. Only if the Indian people manage to beat the English in cricket, will the tax burden be relieved. Well, all in all a light-hearted Bollywood despcription of the Raj, but nonetheless a very enlightening one with loads of fine metaphors.
I hope this helps!