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 David.Edley@nmmu.ac.za 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

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