African Leadership Group

The Wisdom-Keepers Initiative

This initiative is intended to research and document the life experiences, knowledge and wisdom that currently reside in the personal as well as collective memories of senior citizens – especially those in the ripe age groups of 80-100. Very little work has been undertaken to attempt to capture and preserve memories, anecdotes and other life experiences of our matured citizens as they quietly pass on in urban as well as rural villages across our country.

The initiative is, therefore, intended to track down, interview and record the recollections of septuagenarians and centenarians vis-à-vis/about their personal experiences and circumstances as well as those of their families, clans, tribes and communities and so forth. The initiative seeks to approach this task with the urgency and seriousness it deserves.


Our immediate attention is to focus on locating and recording the insights, experiences and observations of people falling into the 90+ age bracket. According to information obtained from the Department of Social Development (SOCPEN), this age bracket comprises 73 635 matured citizens – 58 000 female and 17 000 male.  Within this group, there are a few centenarians whose experiences and insights must be captured before they pass on.

Source: SOCPEN – Old age grant by category and gender

The benefits of the Wisdom-Keepers’ Initiative includes the following:

  • Create benchmarks for profiling oral expressions of traditional ethnic, tribal and cultural thought, wisdoms and memories among the nation’s diverse communities, with particular reference and focus on Women, Youth and Traditional Leadership
  • Record and preserve diverse communal expressions of self-identity and self-definition; language, wisdom and worldview
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