Memory search – were you there???

The Administrator October 27, 2010

Researchers at Stellenbosch University are in search of the anecdotes, stories, slides, diaries and photos of the mariners, construction workers, scientists, joiners, engineers and doctors who have been involved in South Africa’s research bases in Antarctica and on Gough and Marion Islands since the start of the previous century.

The same sources, articles and books are used over and over when any writing is done on the history, heritage and geopolitical aspects, and it is time for these sources of information to be supplemented and updated so that more comprehensive information is available.

A complete database is also being compiled on the people and institutions involved and further sources of information so that social scientists and historians can more easily compile a more complete picture of South Africa’s involvement in the region.

Engela Duvenage says “We are looking particularly for the stories about, among others, the people who helped with the building, logistics and maintenance of the various research bases, because without them it would not have been possible for the scientists to do their research work. We are looking for info as far back as 1948, when the Prince Edward Islands were annexed in a very hush-hush operation for South Africa, for instance. It would, for instance, be great if we could track down someone who was there at the time!

As it is difficult to say where the people who have been involved there over the years now reside, it would be great if you could use information about this project. Your help in spreading the word on this “memory search” would be great”.

The basics on the Antarctic Legacy Project:

  • Researchers here at Stellenbosch University are compiling an electronic database cum archive of the diaries, photographs and personal anecdotes of South Africans’ time in the Antarctic region.
  • We are asking mariners, construction workers, scientists, joiners, engineers and doctors who have worked in the Antarctic region in the past 60 years to contact our researchers.
  • This includes Marion Island, Gough Island and Antarctica (SANAE base).
  • The database will be open to anyone who in future would like to do research on the history, heritage and geopolitical aspects of the region.
  • The Antarctic Legacy Project is run by the DST-NRF Centre of Invasion Biology (CIB) at Stellenbosch University, and funded by the National Research Foundation.

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