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SOUTH AFRICAN POSTCARDS
picturing the past

Picturing the past - Postcards provide a rich source of pictorial evidence for the physical fabric of local life.

What was your locality like in the past? As you walk along the roads or streets near your home, what evidence can you see of changes that have taken place? What has caused these changes, and what can they tell you about the history of your neighbourhood?

One way to answer questions like these is to look at the visual evidence left behind by past generations. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries picture postcards of local scenes, including urban street scenes, were produced in large quantities in every part of the country. Since many of them were kept by their recipients, they also survived in large numbers, providing a rich source of pictorial evidence for the physical fabric of local life.