Mapping Community Heritage (South Africa)

Mapping Community Heritage with Young People in Rural South Africa is a Changing the Story Phase 2 ECR project.

The project is a collaboration between the University of Sheffield (TUoS), South African grassroots Civil Society Organisation (CSO) Pala Forerunners (PF), and University of Pretoria (UP), working in rural communities bordering South Africa’s Kruger National Park (KNP). These rural communities were established in the 20th century by people who were forced off their land in what is now KNP. The proposed project will train and support local young people to act as interviewers, in order to record the lived experience of older generations (interviewees) who remember the forced displacement, and thus to build narratives and an archive for community development purposes. The young interviewers and the research team will together map perceptions among older interviewees of development concepts including home, land, heritage, conflict, displacement, old age, youth, and other concepts to be identified iteratively by community  participants. One objective is to define local perceptions of
development concepts that would otherwise be defined by the global North. Another objective is to establish a sustainable archive, supported by local young people, with help from two major international research universities. Throughout the project, we will assess the linguistic, cultural and historic landscapes surrounding the work. This co-produced research, with communities, PF and UP, will identify issues and solutions, with a view to negotiating historical conflict, and building local consensus on future livelihood and well-being.

Take a look at the following images from the projects second workshop in September 2019:

Project team photo. Photo credit: Prudence Nkomo

Meet the team. Credit: Prudence Nkomo







In May 2020, the Mapping Community Heritage Team embarked on a new project building on their research with Changing the Story.  The project ‘Land Rights in Rural South Africa: Creating a record of practice in an ongoing crisis’ will support the creation of a community archive in Dixie, a community adjacent to Utha. Dixie residents are in the midst of a land rights crisis involving local authorities, developers, and community residents, and the archive will record and preserve community experiences, decision-making, organising processes, strategies, and outcomes, as they happen. To find out more about the project click here.

Stay tuned for project updates

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Project Location

Static google map

Kruger National Park

Mapping Community Heritage with Young People in Rural South Africa is a Changing the Story Phase 2 ECR project