The notion of African history is only just over half a century old. Before then there was little or no scholarly engagement in the history of the continent. ‘Memory and forgetting, past and present’ summarizes how the tradition of studying African history came about and considers current developments. Where is the field heading? Historians of Africa need to take heed not to impose their own way of seeing the world on different cultures and other past times. This is true for both Africans and non-Africans. Is African history still relevant? The answer must be yes. Current crises in Africa make an understanding of how it got to where it is today vitally important.