Blade Nzimande

Johannesburg - South African history needs to be rewritten to correct the effects of colonialism on intellectual production, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande said on Tuesday.

“The history of SA not only has to be rewritten - that is, reinterpreted - but must also be researched and written up in the first place,” he said in a speech prepared for delivery in Cape Town.

“Large swathes of this history have been left untold, or told in a very one-sided manner.”

Nzimande was speaking at the announcement of the SA History Online student internship programme.

He said humanities and social science subjects were undervalued as society became more materialistic.

“It is sad that at this time when, at last, our political freedom allows us to pursue the truth about our past... we no longer seem to be able to do so with vigour and enthusiasm, due to a preoccupation with narrow economic interests which have starved the humanities of funds.”

Nzimande said he was pleased the SA History Online project would absorb young history graduates as interns.

“I hope also that many of you will go on from this base to become researchers who will help to shed light on the history of our country and our region.”

Others would go on to share their knowledge at schools and universities.

Popular understanding of history was important for society, and so it was important that academic research be converted into accessible media forms such as television, radio and the internet, Nzimande said. - Sapa