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 become the largest and most comprehensive online website on South African and African history and culture. In 2019 the website was used by 6.3m local and international visitors.
SAHO is a unique history project – its website, the organisation’s flagship project, is linked to a partnership programme with universities, community based history projects, educational and the cultural department of government.
In April 2018 the State President awarded the CEO and Founder of SAHO, Omar Badsha, the National Order of Ikhamanga, citing “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 write a new history which would 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 building, a non-partisan, peoples history project in partnerships with academic, heritage and community groups in South Africa and from the rest of the African continent.
Omar Badsha, founder and CEO
The National Lotteries Board
Department of Sports, Arts and Culture
Sol Plaatje Education Fund
National Institute of Humanities and Social Science (NIHSS)
Culture, Art, Tourism, Hospitality, and Sport Sector Education and Training Authority
(CATHSSETA)Fibre Processing and Manufacturing Sector Education and Training Authority (FP&M SETA)
Western Cape Provincial Government
Foundations for Human Rights
University of Glasgow
History departments at the University of South Africa (UNISA), University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and other local and international universities.
University of Glasgow
Institute of Justice and Reconciliation
University of South Africa (UNISA) Press
Department of Basic Education (DBE)
Department of Higher Education
UWC Centre for Humanities Research
Ahmed Kathrada Foundation
Africa Media Online
Chris Hani Institute
South African History Online is governed by a Board of Directors supported by full-time staff and student interns.
View our projects and achievement over 20 years click here
Research writing up features and publishing the material on our website is a massive undertaking and is done by a small in-house team, supported by an IT and design team, our interns and academic, museums, archives and community history activists and general public from across the world.
Higher Education Partnership and Student Internship Programme
Unlike Wikipedia, SAHO has worked with and built partnerships with institutions of higher education, museums and archives to draw on and contribute to knowledge production that supports teaching and learning and to ensure the integrity of our content. SAHO has joint 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.
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.
Student Internship Programme
SAHO initiated a student internship programme to provide history graduates with an opportunity to work as researchers in multimedia, networking and publishing. Many of SAHO's staff, who joined us as researchers, have proceeded to do PhDs, becoming senior researchers and lecturers.
SAHO in the last 10 years has organised in partnership with local universities. a number of very successful international conferences.
Community history Project
SAHO has developed links with community-based projects and provides communities assistance to undertake oral history projects and have assisted community groups to build their own websites to market their community heritage sites, local histories and festivals. This programme allows us to build a history from below but it also has the potential to promoting local tourism and jobs creation projects.
National Oral History Project
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.
SAHO has a printing and publications programme that showcases and promotes the works of South African historians, artists and photographers. Since 2000, we have published 16 books on history, culture and photography in partnership with local and international publishers.
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 are intended particularly for those schools without computers or internet access.
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.
Mafika Gwala Annual Lecture
In 2016 SAHO launched the annual Mafika Gwala Lecture in partnership with the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and the National Institute of Humanities and Social Science (NIHSS). As part of the annual lecture programme, we began a school’s essay writing competition with 14 schools in the Hammarsdale Township outside Durban.
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 and to establish an independent African History website.
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
The SAHO website has just over 7,000 biographies, which makes this the largest biography project in South Africa. An integral part of the biography project is the Lives of Courage Project. LOC project is a virtual “Wall of Remembrance” which is a listing of people and the compilation of biographies of people who have played a significant role the history of the Liberation Struggle.
History through pictures
This feature on the SAHO website is to use photographs to draw attention to a biography, an event or a feature. We are now working on creating an online link to a vast archive of historic and contemporary photographs.
Politics and Governance
This section of the site examines the political history of South Africa. It houses many detailed research projects on political movements and organisations, with particular focus on South Africa’s liberation struggle history and the road to democracy.
Culture and Society
SAHO’s features & articles explore South African arts, heritage, culture, languages and religion. It also includes an online gallery of the work of artists, organisations writers, musicians, photographers,…
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 of the new history and other subject areas curriculum. The online classroom consists of the entire history curriculum for grade 4 to grade 12. The lessons are downloadable for free. SAHO is working on publishing material for all the other subject areas.
History of Places
This project is based on research and working with communities to compile a history of our cities, towns, and villages. It is the largest project of its kind in the country featuring heritage tours, galleries, and architecture. It also includes timelines, images and links to biographies of prominent South African political, arts and cultural figures on the SAHO website. WE are now reaching out to small rural communities to tell more about their villages and also working with a radio station to gather oral histories of individuals.
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.