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Archives of Times Past: Conversations about South Africa’s Deep History, edited by by Cynthia Kros, Helen Ludlow, John Wright, Mbongiseni Buthelezi

Archives of Times Past: Conversations about South Africa’s Deep History, edited by by Cynthia Kros, Helen Ludlow, John Wright, Mbongiseni Buthelezi

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This timely volume reminds us that the archive concerning the story of our region before European conquest takes many shapes and forms. The authors offer fascinating insights into how this archive was made and how we can use it to investigate, understand and reinterpret the deep past. This is a thoughtful, innovative and rigorous study. We need this kind of scholarship now more than ever.
 Heather Hughes, Professor of Cultural Heritage Studies and Head, IBCC Digital Archive

Any decolonisation project in southern Africa arguably requires knowledge of the histories of the region before colonisation. Access to that knowledge hinges on acknowledging, accessing and narrating archive. Archives of Times Past is all about this essential work.
 Verne Harris, Acting Chief Programmes Officer, Nelson Mandela Foundation

This is a landmark and engaging book that effectively challenges and displaces common and persistent assumptions about southern African history. More than that, it offers new ways to think, debate, and understand the deep histories of the past in southern Africa and to imagine more promising futures.
 Maanda Mulaudzi, Lecturer, Department of Historical Studies, University of Cape Town

Archives of Times Past: Conversations about South Africa’s Deep History explores particular sources of evidence on southern Africa’s time before the colonial era.  It gathers recent ideas about archives and archiving from scholars in southern Africa and elsewhere, focusing on the question: ‘How do we know, or think we know, what happened in the times before European colonialism?’

Historians who specialise in researching early history have learnt to use a wide range of materials from the past as source materials. What are these materials? Where can we find them? Who made them? When? Why? What are the problems with using them? The essays by well-known historians, archaeologists and researchers engage these questions from a range of perspectives and in illuminating ways. Written from personal experience, they capture how these experts encountered their archives of knowledge beyond the textbook.

The book aims to make us think critically about where ideas about the time before the colonial era originate. It encourages us to think about why people in South Africa often refer to this ‘deep history’ when arguing about public affairs in the present.

The essays are written at a time when public discussion about the history of southern Africa before the colonial era is taking place more openly than at any other time in the last hundred years. They will appeal to students, academics, educationists, teachers, archivists, and heritage, museum practitioners and the general public.

Keywords: Oral history; deep history; heritage studies; museology; memory; memorialising; pre-colonial; historiography; archive; archaeological histories; South African History, South African societies, Public culture, Pre-colonial history, 1800s, 19th century, 20th century, Archive, Archaeology, Rock art, Museums, Oral histories, Eastern Cape, Limpopo-Gauteng-Lesotho-KwaZulu-Natal regions, Mapungubwe, Indigenous Knowledge, Traditional culture, Missionaries and Mission education, black intellectuals, apartheid, decolonisation, #FeesMustFall movement, #Fallists, Shaka, Zulu kingdom, Magema Fuze, Tswana history, history curriculum and assessment policy statement, pedagogy, master narrative, developmentalist history

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