Luli Callinicos is an historian and heritage consultant. She has extensive experience teaching school and university students, workers in the labour movement and as a political educator in history.
A founder member of the Wits History Workshop, she wrote a trilogy of labour and social history: Gold and Workers (Ravan 1981) Working Life: Factories, Townships and Popular Culture (1987) and A Place in the City (1993). In 1988 she received the Noma Award for Publishing in Africa for Working Life. After 1994, she went on to author The World that made Mandela (STE 2000) and Oliver Tambo: Beyond the Engeli Mountains (David Philip 2004], for which she received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Fort in 2005.
Under the Mandela government Callinicos was appointed to the Arts, Culture Task Group from 1994-6; she also served as advisor to the Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology drawing up policy-making and Legacy Project programmes. She sat on the National Monuments Council from 1996-2000 and helped to transform it to the South African Heritage Resources Agency, contributing to the Heritage Resources Act of 2000. She was the first chairperson of the National Heritage Council, founder member of the Workers’ Museum and a Trustee of Freedom Park for nine years and the South African History Archives, 1994-2015 and the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA) since its inception.
Callinicos continues to serve on a number of other heritage and research boards, including Robben Island Museum, the ANC Archives Committee and the National Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences. She has also served on several Ministerial Task Teams including several in the Education Department on the History curriculum as well as, currently, on the Heritage Landscape Task Team.
In addition to numerous articles and chapters in books, Luli Callinicos has been a scriptwriter and historical advisor for museum exhibitions, including on Nelson Mandela on his 90th birthday (Apartheid Museum, Nelson Mandela Museum and Stockholm) and ‘Albert Luthuli and Nelson Mandela: In Conversation’ (Albert Luthuli Museum, Nelson Mandela Museum) and ’Resistance in Their Blood’ on five generations of the Thambi Naidoo family.
Of Hellenic descent, Callinicos was awarded The Order of the Phoenix by the Democracy of Greece in 1997.