The Western Cape Oral History Project


The Western Cape oral history project (WCOHP) is committed to the promotion and development of oral and public history in the Western Cape (Cape Town, South Africa). The WCOHP has four foci:




Sound Archive


The WCOHP has been running since 1984 and has conducted over 400 oral history interviews. Interviews have been conducted with former residents of Cape Town communities who experienced forced removals under apartheid. For example, District Six, Harfield, and Simonstown. Interviews have also been conducted with dock workers, domestic workers, hair-dressers and political activists. The archive is housed in the University of Cape Town's Manuscripts and Archives Department. The WCOHP will soon attach an archival catalogue to this page.




Internship Programme


The WCOHP has an annual internship programme which provides oral history training to black students from various disciplines. The interns undergo intensive training in oral history methodology and then have to produce a number of transcribed interviews and a research paper. The WCOHP is committed to capacity building amongst individuals and communities of the Western Cape region.





Public History Booklets


The central research theme of the WCOHP is Memory and Identity: Cape Town Life Stories. In 1998 we will launch an annual public history booklet series based on this general theme. Each booklet will have a specific theme. The first volume is entitled ‘Lost Communities, Living Memories’ and documents human experiences of forced removals under Apartheid. The second volume will be on ‘Working Lives’ and the third on ‘Sport and Culture’.





Consultancy Contracts


The WCOHP offers teaching and research contracts to prospective clients. We can either conduct full oral history (or qualitative) research projects or do specific sets of interviews. We can also provide intensive eight week training courses in oral history methodology or condensed training courses (or workshops) to meet your particular needs. For further information about the WCOHP or issues relating to oral history please contact    Dr. Sean Field    (



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