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More effort has to be made to document and profile women in history, Arts and Culture Deputy Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi said on Tuesday.

“More women need to tell their stories, to lay bare what their actual experiences are,” Deputy Minister Mabudafhasi said.

Addressing delegates at the 11th Annual National Oral History Conference in Johannesburg, she said this year marked the 60th anniversary of the Women’s Charter.

“How many studies capture the oral histories of those who participated in the making of this charter and of those who walked the streets as part of protest marches?” Deputy Minister Mabudafhasi said.

The Department of Arts and Culture, in partnership with the Oral History Association of South Africa, hosted the conference under the theme Celebrating 20 years of democracy: “Oral History and the Politics of Transformation”.

The conference was aimed at acquiring new information that would help grow the country’s archival holdings.

Efforts also needed to be made to tell the stories about the liberation struggle and the youth, she said.

“This momentous occasion of the Oral History conference further presents an opportunity for us to reflect on how our freedom and democracy were achieved, the progress we have made in the past 20 years and how South Africa will, and should, work together to implement Vision 2030,” Deputy Minister Mabudafhasi said.

She said the country should not forget the birth of its democracy which had been hailed as a miracle.

Deputy Minister Mabudafhasi said the Oral History programme was established to redress knowledge about the country’s history.

The old order created gaps in the public records and public knowledge.

“These gaps were caused by deliberate omission of African knowledge, technologies, stories and philosophies from the mainstream of the body of knowledge generated in the country,” she said.

Gauteng MEC for Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation, Molebatsi Bopape, said the culture of telling stories in classrooms, libraries and hospitals should be encouraged.

“Parents communicate with their children on social networks and we have lost the essence of communal living, now more than ever there is a dire need to restore this practice and custom,” MEC Bopape said.

She said African languages had to be preserved as it was withering in the new age space.

Oral History Association of South Africa (OHASA) President Professor Sekibakiba Lekgoathi said one of the key impacts of the Oral History programme was the involvement of high school learners from various provinces.

“We have created space for learners…who have interesting oral history projects that they are working on to come to the conference, to participate in the conference and present,” Lekgoathe said.

He said OHASA had established the first oral history journal in the country.

The Department of Arts and Culture has supported the Oral History programme since 2003. –