About a year ago I was fortunate to start my career as a part-time researcher for the National Heritage Monument’s (NHM) Long March to Freedom Project.
Not knowing what to expect from my position in this new and exciting project, I started off quite shy and reserved. This soon changed as my colleagues gave me the confidence to research unique yet challenging subjects. Even though my Masters research helped me to improve my researching skills, I did find that the NHM project helped me to explore other avenues of South African struggle history. As a part-time researcher, my colleagues and I were given the responsibility of taking control of the project’s social media platforms and creating blog posts that were related to the struggle icons we researched. One blog post that I enjoyed writing was the history of Imvo Zabantsundu (‘The Native Opinion of South Africa’), which was the first black owned newspaper in South Africa. I found the history of this newspaper extremely fascinating as it inspired many Africans to take pride in their culture at a time when the colour of your skin defined how you would live your life in the apartheid era. It was through researching the impact of this newspaper that it broadened my understanding of this historical period, which in turn helped me to position my Masters research differently.
Since the project provided diverse yet interesting subjects, I found that there was never a dull moment. We were given tasks that always kept us busy. We were even fortunate in attending this year’s ANC policy conference, where the Long March To Freedom procession was displayed outside. Just seeing how visitors responded to the bronze figures made me value the project more.
Although challenging at times I found that my time here has been rewarding as I believe that it helped me to gain experience in a more professional and demanding work environment. Today I thank NHM for allowing me to be part of their team!