History Today

SARDC established a History Institute – History Today based on its extensive historical archives with a vision to research and present history in a manner that is relevant today.

The institute has a massive collection of documents on the history of southern Africa in various forms–

  • books, magazines, reports, articles, photos, videos, etc – and official documents since the formation of SADC and the African Union;
  • the independence movement and anti-apartheid movement as far back as 1964; and,
  • OAU Liberation Committee from inception in 1963.

That covers more than 50 years of History. The institute also has a rich collection of material on precolonial history, most of which are out of print and cannot be accessible anywhere else.

A lot of valuable history is confined between the covers of old books which are out of print, and this covers literature as well as history, politics and culture.

History misplaced is history lost, and in the current situation, if history remains in books on the shelf it is lost if it is not digitized for online access, and will eventually disappear from Memory.     


              “History lost cannot be recovered, and history misplaced is also lost.”



The vision contained in the first paragraph of the African Union Agenda 2063 provides the SARDC History Institute – History Today context to make accessible a rich historical resource for the people of southern Africa, now and into the future — The people of Africa and her Diaspora, united in diversity, young and old, men and women, from all walks of life, deeply conscious of history, express their deep appreciation to all generations of Pan Africanists. In particular, to the founders of the Organization of African Unity for having bequeathed an Africa free from slavery, colonialism and apartheid.


Knowledge and memory of the shared historical past is recovered, preserved and made accessible, even online in various formats in a manner that is relevant today.

Partners and Publications

This institute works in partnership with UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa (UNESCO ROSA) and Southern African Development Community (SADC), as well as universities and research centres, mainly in southern and eastern Africa.  The institute is currently working on modules for history teaching throughout the region, based on a decision by SADC Education Ministers to strengthen the teaching of history. To date the institute is proud to have developed and contributed to some to the following knowledge tools:

Southern African Liberation History. SARDC in partnership with SADC and UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa are developing resources materials on regional dimensions of liberation history that are aimed at addressing contemporary challenges through heritage values to support inclusive societies.

First stage was the History Experts Meeting on the regional dimensions and linkages of the National Liberation Movements in Southern Africa, and the subsequent pilot project for the first Module on This publication on Youth in the Liberation Struggle and Beyond, together with a short video and a widely accessed social media campaign, form the pilot Module 1 of a series titled Respecting the Past, Building the Future, under the National Liberation Movements Heritage Programme.

This is the first Module in a series of an initial 12 aspects of Southern African Liberation History intended to provide resource material on the regional dimensions and linkages of national liberation movements in the SADC region.  Module 2 on Teaching and Learning Liberation History is being finalized for launch, with components for print, video and social media;

Preserving Memory of African Liberation through access to Heritage Archives. This is an introduction to national sources and regional dimensions of the recent process of decolonization, for a better understanding of the existence and significance of the related documentary heritage, leading to greater knowledge, respect and preservation of this heritage, and the establishment of a Regional Memory of the World Registry. This supports the member states and people of the Southern African Development Community in their initiative to teach and learn Southern African Liberation History.

This publication is a preliminary mapping of the Liberation Heritage archives in southern Africa beginning with 9 countries covered by UNESCO ROSA. The next phase will focus on the expansion of mapping to other countries beyond 9 in the pilot study, and preservation and digitization as well as mobilizing national/regional Memory of the World (MoW) committees;

40 Years of SADC: Enhancing Regional Cooperation and Integration.  SADC and SARDC have also made a contribution to the knowledge of this period by documenting 40 years of regional history and heritage 1980-2020. The book on 40 Years of SADC was launched by SADC in June 2021. It captures the milestones, achievements and challenges encountered since inception, and regional solidarity for liberation;

SADC Summit Publication History Pages. Since 2014, SARDC is responsible for preparing a Summit publication every provides a public record of SADC activities and achievements. This publication has special pages dedicated to communicating regional history;

Southern Africa Today History pages.  The Southern Africa Today is a bi-monthly magazine covering sectoral and current issues in southern Africa, co-published with the SADC Secretariat in the three official languages of English, French and Portuguese. The publication has a special page dedicated to communicating history of the region and its relevance today; and

Southern African News Features (SANF), a regional news features service that adds depth to understanding of regional issues and is widely reproduced in the media. The institute makes use of this platform to share various historical articles and news features.


              “The further behind you look, the farther ahead you are likely to see.”