Click on the link below to read the notice and details of the December 2019 presentation:
PROGRAM FOR DECEMBER 2019
MEETING DATE: Tuesday 10 December 2019
VENUE: KwaMuhle Museum, Bram Fischer Road [Ordnance Road] Durban.
TIME: Meeting commences at 17h15; Refreshments will be served from 16h30.
PARKING: Off Bram Fischer / Ordnance Road [next to the Museum]
COST: Members: R20.00 Visitors: R40.00
TITLE OF TALK: Living History – keeping the oral tradition alive
SPEAKER: Alison Bastable
There is a West African saying: When an old man dies, a library burns down. In 2005 Alison Bastable was teaching at Durban Girls’ High School when she embarked on an oral history project with the Interact Club following an encounter between learners and the residents of a retirement home. While the girls were chatting among the senior citizens, an incredulous learner refused to believe that the lady she had been talking to actually served in the Union Defence Force during WWII. Once successfully persuaded that these old folk were telling the truth, according to Alison, this young girl learned that people around us experienced world events the rest of us only read about in history books. This experience inspired Alison to record the life stories of 100 different people, based on the idea that “real history begins with three word – I WAS THERE.” This project culminated in the stories being published to commemorate the centenary of Rotary International.
Alison Bastable is a teacher at Northlands Girls’ High School. Her love of history came from her mother, whose great-grandmother arrived in Natal in the 1800s under the age of 20, married with two children (the baby was born on board ship). They settled in Maritzburg, and Alison’s maternal great-grandmother went to school with the daughters of Bishop Colenso and was a regular visitor at Bishopstowe. She married a diamond prospector and lived in a tent in Kimberley right next to Cecil John Rhodes! Alison’s dad’s family were pioneer Zululand sugar farmers, whose stories are legend too. His mother was the first licenced woman driver in Zululand even though she still preferred to travel on horseback. His father was a civil engineer and, among many other things, mapped out the route for the railway line from Durban to Lorenzo Marques. He also designed Durban’s dry dock. Alison’s own father was a formula 1 racing driver who at one time owned the fastest car in South Africa, and thrilled spectators during the Burman Bush Hill Climbs.