"Merely by describing yourself as black you have started on a road towards emancipation, you have committed yourself to fight against all forces that seek to use your blackness as a stamp that marks you out as a subservient being." - Steve Biko

About the Historic Sites Database


This database is part of a collaborative project to map historic sites across South Africa’s townships. The primary focus of the database is the history of Soweto’s built environment and the role of its historic resources in the liberation movement. At this time, the database provides a framework for further research. Included are primary and secondary sources already vetted and assigned to a specific building or historic site.

Historic sites listed in the database are not only limited to currently existing resources, but also describe sites that are no longer extant. The database includes a description of the historic site, details of sources with expanded documentation, photographs and related finds, and, if possible, a site history.

After taking into account the staggering breadth and diversity of Soweto heritage resources, the Soweto ‘76 team made the judgment to open the database recovery effort to an informed public. All interested persons are invited to contribute by suggesting additions, corrections, and additional documentation of existing sites.

The historic database records are only a preview of the actual database. In other words, the database is not yet “live.” It will be updated periodically as new records are added, and eventually this online version will be live.

Features expected to be added in the coming months include access to photographic records (for those properties which have digital images), expanded searching capabilities, expanded options for printing search results, options for downloading data onto individual computers, pdfs of actual survey forms, and a GIS or electronic map component that allows for searching in that particular format.