Capturing the history of Mamelodi digitally

Posted on April 26, 2024

An extensive research initiative, led by the University of Pretoria's Mamelodi Campus in collaboration with the Historical Society of Mamelodi, is undertaken to digitally document the rich stories and history of Mamelodi, a township located near Pretoria in the City of Tshwane, South Africa. The project had five key components. Firstly, community members received training in using a cloud-based video editing software to create their own digital stories, which were then shared on a dedicated YouTube channel. Secondly, senior citizens were interviewed to share their memories. Thirdly, students enrolled in the BSocSci (Hons) Heritage and Cultural Tourism programme of the Department of Historical and Heritage Studies collaborated with the members of the Historical Society of Mamelodi to develop ArcGIS storymaps on various topics, including notable individuals, significant historical sites, and education in Mamelodi. Fourthly, secondary school learners created digital stories about Mamelodi and their experiences in the township using the cloud-based video editing software. Finally, the Historical Society of Mamelodi members crafted storymaps detailing the main events and important figures in the community.

Access to technology was identified as a crucial factor for personal empowerment and community development. The community, students, and learners not only gained valuable knowledge about Mamelodi's history but also enhanced their communication and technical skills. The Historical Society of Mamelodi played a pivotal role in fostering collaboration between the University of Pretoria, the Mamelodi Campus, and the community by establishing a platform to capture their stories.

Community members expressed that the training was valuable as it enabled them to share their stories, while learners found the experience enriching and educational. Rev Chris Nkomo chairperson of the Historical Society of Mamelodi mentioned that the collaboration with the Mamelodi campus allowed him to present the outcomes at two conferences. Dr. Martina Jordaan, Head of Community Engagement Research at the Mamelodi campus, reflected on the development of the partnership from one project to the next, emphasizing the strengthening of the relationship between the Historical Society and the Mamelodi campus.


- Author Martina Jordaan

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