Contemporary history

Current research and curatorial projects

New Social Movements in South Africa

Detail from an Environmental Justice Networking Forum T-Shirt

New Social Movements focuses on life worlds and is closely linked to late-modernity, often known as post-modernism. These movements mobilise around an alternative world-view and develop distinctive modes of action, symbols and in some cases, lifestyles. Research will be undertaken to document these in the Western Cape.

Marie Koopmans-De Wet

Marie Koopmans-De Wet (1834–1906) has been idealised as a great South African lady. She was actively involved in political and heritage issues and is credited for saving the Castle of Good Hope at least twice from insensitive alterations. She is also known for her aid work during the Anglo-Boer War (1899–1902). The life of Marie Koopmans-De Wet reflects the values about women her time and the descriptions of her life reflects the ideals set for women during the early part of the twentieth century. The aim of the project is to analyse these value systems.

Bo-Kaap Museum

The Bo-Kaap museum is situated in one of the oldest residential areas in Cape Town. The area reflects many of the social, political and cultural processes of South Africa since the mid-eighteenth century. The museum is being redeveloped to become a social history museum that will reflect the history of the Bo-Kaap and its rich cultural heritage.


The Heritage of slavery in South Africa section of the website aims to make basic information and primary resources on South African slavery available on the web (see 'online resources' on the Social History Resources page). This is a co-operative project with academics and other heritage institutions.