After a long break the Ulwazi Programme is back in action! We will begin with a focus on people – musicians, sportspeople, caregivers, scientists, artists, freedom fighters, actors, politicians – both past and present who have contributed to the social fabric of Durban and surrounding areas within the eThekwini Municipality. Here is a reminder of what it does and what you can expect in the coming months and years…


The Ulwazi Programme was established in 2008 in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It was conceptualised by the ex-Head of Information Systems, Betsie Greyling. It is unique in that it is the first project of its kind in South Africa to promote a democratised policy in co-creating cultural and historical information with people from local communities. ‘Fieldworkers’ from local communities within the eThekwini Municipality are trained to use basic digital media tools and web platforms. They then write – in Zulu and English – on cultural and historical topics relating to the city of Durban and areas within the eThekwini Municipality. The result is the Ulwazi Programme – a website of locally relevant content in local languages.

Local History Museums Project

Initially a library project, the Ulwazi Programme is now run through the Durban Local History Museums of eThekwini Municipality. In the form of newspaper-style articles, the project covers:

  • People
  • Places
  • Food
  • History
  • Music
  • Culture

The Ulwazi Programme has recorded numerous aspects of local history and culture including oral histories, family histories, aspects of material culture unique to the Durban area and a wealth of cultural practices relating to food, rites of passage, ceremonies and celebrations, amongst other things. It is seen, and used, as a valuable source of local information, as a platform for dialogue and the exchange of ideas.


Below are some of the project main achievements:

  • Established digital library of local history and knowledge in English and Zulu – over 2000 articles in Zulu and English.
  • Trained over 20 fieldworkers in digital media management and digital skills.
  • Collaborated with, and gave training to, students at four underserviced peri-urban and rural schools.
  • Promoted digital and reading literacy by providing access to a locally relevant resource in a local language.


The Ulwazi Programme fulfils a vital role by preserving and sharing local knowledge. Much of the information that you find on the Ulwazi website has been collected over the years by our fieldworkers who have recorded the perspectives of people in their communities and changing culture within the eThekwini Municipality.

For the most part these articles are published on the website in the form of of articles written by the fieldworkers but from time to time videos are also recorded. These short films provide wonderful insight into the history of both everyday people and prominent members of communities within eThekwini. Visit the Ulwazi YouTube channel to view some of them.

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