Please note that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, SAHO personnel are working from home.
About South African History Online
South African History Online (SAHO) was established in 1998 and registered in June 2000 as a not for profit Section 21 organisation. SAHO has over two decades become the largest and most comprehensive online website on South African and African history and culture.
SAHO website, is linked to a partnership programme with universities, schools and community based history projects. It has become an integral part of the higher education landscape and the go to website for information on South African and African history with just over 6m visitors a year.
SAHO, is recognised as a national cultural and heritage asset. In April 2018 the State President awarded the CEO and Founder of SAHO, Omar Badsha, the National Order of Ikhamanga (silver), “for his commitment to the preservation of our country’s history through ground-breaking and well-balanced research and collection of profiles and events of the struggle for liberation.” SAHO is also a winner of the National Institute of Humanities and Social Science Annual Award for digital Humanities.
SAHO mission is to break the silence on our past and to address the biased way in which the historical and cultural heritage of South Africa and the continent has been represented in our educational and cultural institutions.
SAHO has committed itself to compiling a new history for a new country in partnerships with academic, heritage and community groups and provides ordinary a platform to tell their own stories.
SAHO is committed to:
• Promoting a critical and non-sectarian understanding of our past, freedom of expression and open access to knowledge and information.
• Promoting, history by building partnerships to pool our intellectual and archival resources to undertake new research to build a new history of the continent.
• Contribute to the promotion of history and the strengthening of research and the teaching and learning of history.
SAHO website has become the go to platform for information on South African history with just over 6m visitors a year. Before the Covid 19 epidemic the number of visitor to the website grew by an average of 25% new visitors a year.
The material on the website is used by the president’s office and nearly every local and national, student radio stations, newspaper and hundreds of websites and most importantly it is used extensively by school, university students, academics both locally and internationally.
The material on the website is added to daily across all our major subject areas by our research team, plus local and international academics and students from across the world.
Timeline: What Happened in History
A general chronology of events listing South African history and culture that covers politics, culture, sport and science. It also includes specialised timelines on aspects of South African history and includes events covering the history of individual African countries.
People in History: A Who’s Who Lives of Courage
The SAHO website hosts 7,000 biographies, which makes this the largest biography project in South Africa. An important part of this biography project is the Lives of Courage Project, an online “Wall of Remembrance” which is a listing of biographies of people who have played a significant role the history of the Liberation Struggle in South Africa.
Politics and Governance
This is the hub of the country’s political history, with detailed features on political movements and organisations, with particular focus on South Africa’s liberation struggle history and the countries road to democracy. From here you will can access biographies, documents, timelines etc.
Culture and Society
SAHO’s features & articles explore South African arts, heritage, culture, language, sports, religion and also includes biographies, an online gallery of the work of artists, organisations.
The Online Classroom is the mainstay of SAHO's schools History Project. It is made up of a number of inter-related projects aimed at popularising and strengthening the teaching and learning of history and other subject areas. The lessons for grade 4 to 12 are downloadable for free. We also conducted workshops for history teachers, produce books, and exhibitions for the Department of Basis Education and are working to make the resources more easily accessible by developing apps for use by mobile platforms.
Publication of curriculum material
SAHO has designed and published books and CDs for the Department of Basic Education to meet the needs of the country's new curriculum. These publications were intended particularly for those schools without computers or internet access.
National Oral History Project
Since 2006 SAHO and the Department of Basic Education (DBE) jointly run the annual Chief Albert Luthuli Young Historians Oral History Competition. This is a national oral history project, which invites learners and educators to undertake oral history projects on people who fought for freedom and those who are promoting democracy in their communities. The material produced by the students is published on our website.
History of Places
This project is based on research and working with communities to compile a history of their cities, towns, and villages. It is the largest project of its kind in the country and also featuring heritage sites, galleries, liberation struggle routes and we intend making this not only a national heritage project but an integral part of the tourism industry. It also includes timelines, images and links to biographies on the SAHO website of prominent South African political activists, arts and cultural, sports figures.
This is a fairly new but growing project, building a country by country history but also presenting broad themes that influenced African History. Our aim is to work towards building a partnership with academics from across Africa and internationally to establish a separate African History website.
The SAHO archive is a unique feature of its website. It contains more than 50.000 documents, videos and images. The material in the archive is linked to features and acts as reference for articles, biographies, and other section of the website. It is an invaluable resource for furthering new research.
Educational, Community and International Projects
Higher Education Partnership and Student Internship Programme
Unlike Wikipedia, SAHO is committed to building partnerships with institutions of higher education so that we can draw on and contribute to knowledge production that supports teaching and learning and to ensure the integrity of our content. SAHO has jointly undertaken research, publications and exhibition programmes with both local and international universities.
Since 2012 SAHO has taken on over one hundred and sixty PhD, masters and undergraduate students as part of our student internship programmes. SAHO’s interns include web design and information technology (IT) students.
SAHO initiated a student internship programme to provide history graduates with an opportunity to work as researchers in multimedia, networking and publishing. Many of our interns have proceeded to do PhDs, becoming senior researchers, teachers and academics.
In addition to our internship programmes, SAHO runs unique research and student exchange programmes with three American universities. We also have a partnership programme with Glasgow University in Scotland. Our aim is to develop partnerships and student exchange programmes with universities in the rest of Africa.
SAHO has held a number of very successful academic conferences, in partnership with local universities, in the last 21 years it has organised four successful conferences which has led to the publications of books and journal articles.
SAHO has a printing and publications programme that showcases and promotes the works of South African historians, artists and photographers. Since 2000, we have assembled, edited and published 31 books, four musical cd’s on histies.ry, culture and photography in partnership with local and international publishers.
SAHO has developed links with community-based projects and provides communities with assistance and training to undertake oral history projects and in the use of the internet to narrate their own and their communities’ histories. We have assisted community groups to build their own websites which has enabled communities to market their community heritage sites, local histories and culture. Our project with the Simonstown Museum and community is an example of how we as a country can push the boundaries of what is possible in making history matter in dealing with the painful past and rebuilding new communities.
SAHO has an online and a travelling exhibition programme. We have, over the past 20 years, organised a number of seminal exhibitions that have travelled locally and internationally. SAHO has also assisted artists and photographers with the designing, printing and marketing of their work.
SAHO also organised photographic exhibitions in South Africa, as well as in Ethiopia, Norway, United States of America, Canada, Argentina, Pakistan, Iran, Oman, Australia and Mexico.
Mafika Gwala Annual Lecture
In 2016 SAHO launched the annual Mafika Gwala Lecture. Mafika Gwala was a leading intellectual, poet and political activists. The lecture series is run in partnership with the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and the National Institute of Humanities and Social Science (NIHSS). Alongside the annual lecture series, we together with members of the community of Hammarsdale Township, run a school’s essay writing competition and other programmes with in the area.
University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN).
University of South Africa (UNISA),
Wits History department and history Workshop
Institute of Justice and Reconciliation
Department of Basic Education (DBE)
Department of Sports, Arts and Culture (DSAC)
Past and present sponsors
Department of Sports, Arts and Culture
National Institute of Humanities and Social Science (NIHSS)
Western Cape Provincial Government
Culture, Art, Tourism, Hospitality, and Sport Sector Education and Training Authority (CATHSSETA)Fibre Processing and Manufacturing Sector Education and Training Authority (FP&M SETA)
Inqaba Biotechnical Industries (Pty) Ltd
Woolworth My School Project
Funding raised through our crowd funding campaigns.