In addition to Durban Local History Museums being responsible for a number of physical sites where artefacts are stored and displayed, they are also engaged in various online projects, one of these being the Ulwazi Programme, which this year celebrates its tenth year!
Set up in 2008, Ulwazi was the first project of its kind in South Africa to promote a democratised collection policy through the use of basic digital media tools and community participation. Through a combination of technology and ‘fieldworkers’, contributors from communities in the municipality, Ulwazi generates locally relevant content in local languages, namely isiZulu and English.
In addition to the fieldworkers, who are employed by the programme, the website also allows for contributions from members of the public on any topics relating to the eThekwini Municipality. The type of content featured on Ulwazi includes:
- Recorded oral histories
- Photographs of material culture
- Oral forms of history
- Art and
- Local ways of doing things
With nearly 2000 articles in English and isiZulu, Ulwazi is larger than the Zulu Wikipedia and, as such, is an invaluable source of local knowledge and history for the eThekwini Municipality. The programme has also been responsible for training more than 20 fieldworkers in digital media management and has partnered with four underserved peri-urban and rural schools in order to provide students with training in digital skills. Sign up for programme updates HERE.