Opinions

 

Our new minister is responsible for archives too!

In all the uproar surrounding the appointment of our new minister something positive has emerged: arts and culture organisations have been coming out in defence of the sector, explaining why arts and cuture matters in society. We put the case for archives.

Don’s story

Heather MacAlister tells the story of her husband’s search for his birth mother - and how she was found, through some determined archival sleuthing!

Anecdotes and Archives: Scottish South Africans?

Katie Mooney tells the story of her family drawing on diverse sources: family anecdotes, archival documents, tales of fiction, memories and facts.

Cecil Rhodes, Heritage Formation and Contemporary Popular Culture

Duane Jethro, notes that as the state has chosen not to ‘unsettle’ apartheid-era monuments and heritage sites activists have taken matters into their own hands and staged various cultural interventions in an attempt to disrupt these static commemorations of power.

My tears over the grave of my father

Vuyani Booi shares his experience of searching for, and finding the grave of his late father, a journey which affirmed the significance, value and meaning of family memories.

Cultures butchered in a foreign land?

Sebinane Lekoekoe visits the Musée du quai Branly and reflects on the manner in which cultural objects removed from one land are displayed in another. He argues that the communities of origin should play a significant role in deciding how their material is displayed so that it’s significance is not lost.

Invented digital traditions

Dineo Skosana writes about how, in the past, funerals of the well renowned, political activists and prominent members of the society were recorded, whereas today funerals of commoners are increasingly being videoed.

The Art Archive

Emile considers the ‘art archive’, the visual constructons of the human imagination that stand alongside other forms of the human trace such as letters, books, oral testimonies, etc., and as important in understanding the meaning and scope of archive and memory.

The pleasures of discovery: understanding the settlement you live in.

Stephen Townsend shares his delight in the pleasure of discovering the places we inhabit, through the archive, and offers researchers interested in exploring the archive of the built environment some useful tips.

Looking back at 2013: Looking forward to 2014

Jo-Anne Duggan pauses for a moment to reflect on the state of the archive - the good news, the challenges and the way ahead.

“Accountability, Transparency and Access to Information”:  A report on ICA’s 2103 Conference

Graham Dominy reports on the first annual conference of the International Council on Archives (ICA) which took place in Brussels in November 2013.

Archival Digitization and the Struggle to Create Useful Digital Reproductions

In a post first published on the Activehistory.ca website Krista McCracken discusses the challenge of preserving context when digitising collections.

Plan of Action for Archive and Paper conservation in museums & archives in South Africa

Monique Vajifdar, an art conservator, posted a proposal to the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) in October 2013 and submitted it as a comment on the Archival Platform website. Vajifdar is stll awaiting a response from the DAC.

Auto-archiving” in Muslim Communities on the Cape Flats

Saarah Jappie notes that,  for so-called “coloureds” in Cape Town, the experience of archive has historically been marked by absence. On one hand, the relationship with state institutions and the “official” record has been one of exclusion, in the form of both underrepresentation and limited access. On the other hand, due to generations of social, economic and physical dislocation, families have often been dispossessed of personal materials that speak to the past.  While these inadequacies have kept history out of reach for many, recent years have seen the rise of a new archival consciousness within one particular segment of this group – the Cape Muslim community. In this post Jappie considers the way in which heritage activists and cultural enthusiasts have come to revisit the past, engaging with existing records and establishing novel repositories of their own over the past two decades or so.

South African Taste

Duane Jethro explore the relationships between taste, sensibilities, place and heritage in contemporary South Africa.