The subject that I have chosen to write the oral history essay on is my dad, Mr Mohamed Ali. This essay will analyse the oral history interview transcript and will also discuss the strengths and weaknesses of oral history when compared with other forms of historical material.
This essay is based on the oral history interview which I undertook on the 11/04/03 with Mr M Ali at his home. The interview was conducted in Arabic, so therefore the translated transcript is not an absolute word for word translation, but the most completed that I was able to produce.
"a life story or biographical approach is best.
in which an interviewee is encouraged to relate.
their life chronologically beginning with family.
background, childhood, religion, working.
life and later family life" .
(Perks 1992, p14).
I think to begin to have a clearer understanding and to place the whole interview in context it is always advisable to begin the interview with the subject's background. The Branston and Stafford (1999, p233) suggestion is that personal identity and the background interpretation of the ordinary individual could raise new and important information in an oral interview. I will begin with and introduction to my subject's life story and then continue on with the analyses of my oral history interview transcript.
My dad's full name is Mr Mohamed Ali Ibrahim. He was born on the 31st of January 1937 on a warm, misty night. My dad's family were all from Eritrea in East Africa, which is near Sudan and Ethiopia. At the period of my fathers birth Italy ruled Eritrea and throughout his childhood there were soldiers patrolling the villages. He was born in a small village called Adi Keyih, which is south of the capital Asmara, where all his family were born before they were forced to moved to Bakra by the Italian rulers.
His father, Ibrahim Sulaman Orey, had been married twice before and had four other children before he met his mother.