Conservation of these memories requires the forex Live priser of oral history, testimonies and personal recollections of the quotidian. The first reason is that oral history initiatives multiply around the country as we engage in a collective effort to re-envisage the past in a way that encompasses all people, irrespective of race, culture, genders, sexual orientation and social status.
The field of oral history is vast and complex. The definitions provided below are loosely based on the ideas of historian Prof. Oral history: Oral history is the term used to describe the method that uses oral testimony and oral tradition as historical evidence. Oral history is also known as oral reminiscence and refers to the memories of people collected in an interview.
It is a very old method of collecting history. However over time the method was sidelined in favour of the written document. Oral testimony: Oral testimony refers to an informant recollection of an event that they have experienced in their lifetime. The interviewee shares stories about themselves and about what they have experienced. Oral tradition: Oral traditions refer to stories or narratives that have been passed on from one generation to another over time.
These are second hand stories that have been transmitted by word of mouth and unlike oral testimonies they are no longer contemporary. There are different examples including folk tales, genealogies and praise songs. A collection of primary documents is inadequate to capture any historical study. Documents only account for part of the story and life histories will substantiate and provide a richer and more detailed account of the past. Efforts to capture the voices of those involved in social movements has been neglected and has down played the heterogeneous nature of certain phenomena.
The collection of ethnographies and oral testimonies is a daunting task for all researchers, social scientists and historians, whose work is historical. It is not however an impossibility. Oral testimonies provide valuable supplements to written sources such as press cuttings and government reports. In other words, oral testimonies encapsulate the perspective of those who shared a similar experience and or participated in the same event.
Such testimonies reveal how individuals perceive, understand and remember their past. For researchers then oral testimonies provide richer and more detailed data which assists in unravelling the process through which identities are constructed and reconstructed. In a sense oral histories are a form of autobiography. When researchers go to the National Archives of South Africa it becomes apparent that there is a glaring gap in documented evidence.
Even if there are written sources that outline particular events, they often provide a skewed and incorrect recollection of the past. This was particularly the case under the apartheid regime. Related to this in the apartheid era there was a strict censorship policy and a number of official and unofficial documents were destroyed. The grand narratives of struggle and apartheid capture only a fraction of its lived reality, and convey a picture drained of meaning and feeling. However, severe criticisms have been launched at social historians and researchers and their collection of oral testimonies. The manipulation of oral sources by social historians is a matter of concern to some critics of this methodology.
In their view oral testimonies are not the voices of the ordinary people but of the historians themselves. Oral history gives the ordinary people the opportunity to make representations of their own lives and that it retrieves the frequently hidden history of the largely illiterate underclass in the society. Most interviewees are very proud and happy to be interviewed because oral testimonies make them feel part of the research process and gives them a sense of ownership of the past, their history and heritage. Social historians, anthropologists, human geographers, sociologists, documentary filmmakers are directly engaged in unravelling the process of remembering.
It is important to note that memory is selective and people forget particular memories especially if they are traumatic. By capturing the voices of their subjects they reveal the diversity and multiplicity of stories related to the phenomena they are investigating. Another point to note is that the interview is a process and a power relation between the interviewer and interviewee. Individuals have their own reasons for wanting to share their experiences. It is not as simple as asking questions and receiving answers. Gender, age and language are all elements that shape the interview process. Discussions around politics, sex and criminal activities are very difficult and depend on how the interviewee feels about the interviewer.