As the Society approached its centenary in 2018, it was increasingly felt that the name ‘Van Riebeeck Society’ was no longer appropriate or accurate. It suggested a very narrow colonial focus on our past, which was out of place in post-colonial South Africa. Moreover, it was misleading as it did not reflect the national range of our volumes and suggested that we were a Cape and not a Southern African society. For these reasons, in 2017 the members of the Society decided to a change of name to HiPSA, Historical Publications Southern Africa (formerly Van Riebeeck Society)/Historiese Publikasies Suider-Afrika (voorheen die Van Riebeeck Vereniging).
In its 100 years the Society has published accounts by a wide array of authors, including travellers, explorers, officials, missionaries, soldiers, activists, settlers, journalists, botanists, shipwreck survivors and politicians. In most cases, if the original was not in English (i.e. in languages like Dutch, Afrikaans, seTswana, isiXhosa, French, German, Swedish, Russian, Latin or Norwegian), an English translation was provided too, to make the work accessible to as many readers as possible both locally and abroad.
We are well aware that we live in an era of changing technology. We have explored digital options and published several eBooks, but, for the present, we expect to continue to publish hard-copy volumes edited to a high academic standard. At the same time, we want our volumes to be readable – enjoyable to all South Africans who have an interest in how our country was made. That was our original mandate – and it remains so.