BOOK: Archives of Times Past: Conversations about South Africa’s Deep History (Wits University Press)
Historians who specialise in researching early
history have learnt to use a wide range of materials from the past as source
materials. What are these materials? Where can we find them? Who made them?
What are the problems with using them? The essays in Archives of Times Past: Conversations about South
Africa’s Deep History (Wits
University Press) explore particular sources of evidence on southern Africa’s
time before the colonial era. Edited by Cynthia Kros, John Wright, Mbongiseni
Buthelezi and Helen Ludlow, these essays are by well-known historians,
archaeologists and researchers engaging these questions from a range of
perspectives and in illuminating ways. Written from personal experience, they
capture how these specialists encountered their archives of knowledge beyond
the textbook. In this piece drawing on a chapter in Archives of Times Past, Himal Ramji, a PhD
student in history at the University of Cape Town, looks at the ways Mapungubwe
has been dealt with in historical discourse.