Historical Association of SA


of the
Historical Association
South Africa

Important dates:

11 February 1956:   The Historical Association of South Africa was officially established in the City Hall in Pretoria.

24 February 1956:   A formal establishment conference was held.

June 1956:                First issue of Historia was published.

The objective with Historia was to present historical themes to the broader public, and to further the interests of history in the widest sense.

Strictly scientific articles based on archival research were published. New historical literature was also publicised.

In the beginning, contributions by teachers and those in education circles were included. Gradually, there was a move away from education to specialised scientific historical articles.

Viewed every decade, it becomes apparent how Historia became a more full-blown academic journal that published articles on a wide range of themes and including all aspects of historical writing and trends.

It was initially published quarterly, but from 1974 it appeared biannually

4-5 October 1956:    First congress held in Pretoria.

February 1957:         First issue of Historia Junior was published.

                                    Historia Junior was aimed at cultivating an interest in history among primary and high school learners.

                                    Yesterday and Today replaced Historia Junior. It was published by the Association from 1981 until 1985 when it was taken over by the South African Society for History Teaching.

1988:                          Start of biennial conferences.

2006:                          The Historical Association of South Africa turned 50.


The Association has as its main objective the furtherance of history as a discipline in particular the study and understanding of the history of South Africa, by means of the following:

Ø   the encouragement of history as a subject in South African universities, colleges of education and schools;

Ø   the improvement of the quality of the teaching of History as a subject generally;

Ø   the development and awareness of the importance of History;

Ø   by publishing historical journals/magazines;

Ø   by publishing any other publications of a historical nature and by supporting the publishing of historical material;

Ø   by collecting historical documents and archival material and depositing them to the relevant South African archives;

Ø   by promoting historical documents and archival material and depositing them to the relevant South African archives;

Ø   by promoting historical museums through collecting relevant pieces for the museums;

Ø   by co-operating with statutory bodies and other institutions involved with the preservation or restoration of historical artefacts (and articles); and

Ø   by working together with other organisations to promote common ideals.


1955 – 1975:     J.J. van Tonder

1976 – 1977:     G.A. Chadwick

1978 – 1985:     F.A. van Jaarsveld

1985 – 2011:     J.S. Bergh

2011 –            K.L. Harris

For a more complete history and analysis of the past 50 years’ activities of the Historical Association of South Africa, consult the article by Pieter Kapp “Sinvol of Sinister? Die Historiese Genootskap van Suid-Afrika Vyftig Jaar oud” in Historia 51(2), November 2006.


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