Anyone can create their family tree during Heritage Month

2010-09-07 00:00

“FAMILY history is one of the most popular pastimes worldwide,” says Pieter Nel, chairperson of the Msunduzi Heritage Forum, speaking at the launch of a one-day exhibition to be held at the Liberty Midlands Mall on Heritage Day, September 24.

In previous years the Msunduzi Heritage Forum, comprising a group of heritage-minded organisations, has mounted an annual Heritage Fair in September. “This year we have decided to take heritage to the people and have teamed up with Melanie Veness of Pietermaritzburg Tourism to reach a wider audience,” says Nel. “And where does everybody go on a public holiday? To the mall.”

“So for those who have always wondered how to go about creating their own family tree, here is the ideal opportunity to get started,” says Nel, “as specialists from each organisation will be on hand to offer down-to-earth advice regarding local sources of information.”

There will be a number of exhibitors, including the Pietermaritzburg Archives Repository, the Family History Society, Comrades House, Msunduzi Museum, Macrorie House, Alan Paton Centre and Pietermaritzburg Tourism.

“People have this idea that heritage is old and boring,” says Veness. “But it’s exciting to look at where you come from, bringing heritage to the mall is taking it to the people.”

The exhibition is one of a number of functions to held during Heritage Month. There will be a family history story -telling competition at the Msunduzi Voortrekker Complex on September 10 for schoolchildren and on the evening of the same day a book fest at Comrades House.

Macrorie House has an open day from 10 am to 3 pm on Sunday. Admission is R5 for adults and R2 for children. Pensioners will be admitted free.

The Pietermaritzburg Heritage Society will host a talk by Paul Thompson titled “The Germans interned at Fort Napier 1914-1918” at 10.30 am at the Emaphethelwenii (Dominican Centre) at a cost of R20 per person.

The annual Peter Brown Memorial Seminar will take place in the UKZN Council Chamber on September 16 from 9.30 am to 4 pm. The subject is “Opposition to segregation in the history of the University of KwaZulu-Natal.”

The St Nicholas Diocesan School will host a open Heritage/Family Day from 8.30 am on September 18. On September 23 there will be free tours of the Old Prison at Project Gateway. The Natal Inland Family History Society will host an open day at its clubhouse at the The Natal Carbineers from 9 am to 12 pm on Saturday, September 25.

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