Modeling History Project - The Chicago Anti-Apartheid Movement


Student researchers Bri Ramirez and Adiam Woldu present their project using oral histories to create a podcast at the Activating Heritage Conference in 2022.

The Chicago Anti-Apartheid Movement Collections at Columbia College Chicago Archives & Special Collections highlight grass-roots organizations who worked to end apartheid in South and Southern Africa through protest, economic sanctions, and public awareness locally, nationally, and internationally. These groups shared a goal: to end apartheid, a system designed to segregate and discriminate based on race. Columbia College Chicago holds the definitive collection of Chicago-area activists’ work from the 1960s, to South Africa’s first universal election in 1994, to 2009, with additional materials addressing restructuring after this seminal election. The archival collections explore the work and formation of grassroots organizations in a pre-internet age, as both a blueprint for protest and a pathway to democracy.

While work has been done to digitize these records for global use in an open access research repository, it is the set of 34 oral histories, conducted by Columbia College Chicago students with local anti-apartheid activists, that add insight and meaning to the records. Each audio interview helps listeners understand the individual’s role in working toward the goal to end apartheid, and their stories add description and life to the archival collections, thus and narrating the records.

The Columbia College Chicago research team in partnership with the Chicago Cultural Alliance will formalize its model for its partner-based life history approach to oral history and develop a new model for thoughtful and theme-based use of edited oral histories, with both easily adaptable models made available to other institutions. We will also produce a 20-minute podcast using the models with the thematic, edited oral histories designed to highlight the personal stories embedded in these histories from interviewees involved in the Chicago struggle to end apartheid in Southern and South Africa.

Visit this link https://everyvoicechicago.com/CIC-info to find out more about the Council of Independent Colleges Humanities Research for the Public Good Grant

Help us promote our project by using the hashtags; #CICPubHum #CCCantiapartheid #CCCspecialcollections

This project is generously supported by the Council of Independent Colleges https://www.cic.edu/


Photo by: Analy Martinez-Pantoja -

(bottom row) Harriet Parker (activist & donor), Lisa Brock (activist & donor), H.E. Ms. Nomaindiya Cathleen Mfeketo (South African Ambassador to the U.S.), Heidi Marshall (archivist & CIC grant team member), Bri Ramirez (Columbia College Chicago student & CIC grant intern)

(top row) Reginald Ratshitanga (Political Counsellor, Embassy), Funeka Sihlali (activist & donor), Erin McCarthy (Interim Chair & CIC grant team member), Phumzile Pride Mazibuko (South African Consul General – Chicago), Marcella David (Senior Vice President & Provost, Columbia College Chicago), Nada Senic (South African Consulate-Chicago, Secretary to the Consul Political and Consul General), Adiam Woldu (Columbia College Chicago student & CIC grant intern), Carla Cherry, (South African Consulate-Chicago, Administrative Assistant).


Student researchers Bri Ramirez and Adiam Woldu present their project using oral histories to create a podcast at the Activating Heritage Conference in 2022.

The Chicago Anti-Apartheid Movement Collections at Columbia College Chicago Archives & Special Collections highlight grass-roots organizations who worked to end apartheid in South and Southern Africa through protest, economic sanctions, and public awareness locally, nationally, and internationally. These groups shared a goal: to end apartheid, a system designed to segregate and discriminate based on race. Columbia College Chicago holds the definitive collection of Chicago-area activists’ work from the 1960s, to South Africa’s first universal election in 1994, to 2009, with additional materials addressing restructuring after this seminal election. The archival collections explore the work and formation of grassroots organizations in a pre-internet age, as both a blueprint for protest and a pathway to democracy.

While work has been done to digitize these records for global use in an open access research repository, it is the set of 34 oral histories, conducted by Columbia College Chicago students with local anti-apartheid activists, that add insight and meaning to the records. Each audio interview helps listeners understand the individual’s role in working toward the goal to end apartheid, and their stories add description and life to the archival collections, thus and narrating the records.

The Columbia College Chicago research team in partnership with the Chicago Cultural Alliance will formalize its model for its partner-based life history approach to oral history and develop a new model for thoughtful and theme-based use of edited oral histories, with both easily adaptable models made available to other institutions. We will also produce a 20-minute podcast using the models with the thematic, edited oral histories designed to highlight the personal stories embedded in these histories from interviewees involved in the Chicago struggle to end apartheid in Southern and South Africa.

Visit this link https://everyvoicechicago.com/CIC-info to find out more about the Council of Independent Colleges Humanities Research for the Public Good Grant

Help us promote our project by using the hashtags; #CICPubHum #CCCantiapartheid #CCCspecialcollections

This project is generously supported by the Council of Independent Colleges https://www.cic.edu/


Photo by: Analy Martinez-Pantoja -

(bottom row) Harriet Parker (activist & donor), Lisa Brock (activist & donor), H.E. Ms. Nomaindiya Cathleen Mfeketo (South African Ambassador to the U.S.), Heidi Marshall (archivist & CIC grant team member), Bri Ramirez (Columbia College Chicago student & CIC grant intern)

(top row) Reginald Ratshitanga (Political Counsellor, Embassy), Funeka Sihlali (activist & donor), Erin McCarthy (Interim Chair & CIC grant team member), Phumzile Pride Mazibuko (South African Consul General – Chicago), Marcella David (Senior Vice President & Provost, Columbia College Chicago), Nada Senic (South African Consulate-Chicago, Secretary to the Consul Political and Consul General), Adiam Woldu (Columbia College Chicago student & CIC grant intern), Carla Cherry, (South African Consulate-Chicago, Administrative Assistant).

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Page last updated: 25 Apr 2022, 12:59 PM