Opinions

 

The Biko autopsy report: what’s the ‘right thing’ to do?

Jo-Anne Duggan considers issues relating to the planned auction of the Biko autopsy report. Taking a cue from a statement made by Nkosinathi Biko, she reflects on what might be the ‘right thing’ to do

What is the significance of an Identity Document in post apartheid South Africa?

Dineo Skosana’s insightful post questions the relevance of holding an ID today and considers how it monitored access to space, place, work and social life under apartheid. The article also questions racial identity, privilege and access as embodied in the possession of an identity book.

Censorship of public archives and the limits of accountability

Harriet Deacon, commenting on the recent release of British records of colonial activity in Kenya concludes that while the ideal of the comprehensive and open official archive is a noble one, it is never fully realized. She argues that governments tend to censor or ‘curate’ archives by limiting what goes into them and by controlling who sees it.

Public memorial lectures as platforms to celebrate intellectual heritage

Vuyani Booi considers the upsurge in memorial lectures that commemorate the struggle icons. He argues that while universities use these to reposition themselves in ways that are ‘politically correct’ they need to embrace the intellectual legacies more holistically.

Re-Placing the Past

Duane Jethro reflects on the dynamics of heritage formation in Berlin and South Africa with reference to the work of two important German artists and the Sunday Times Heritage Project.

By indirections, [we] find directions out.” – Polonius in ‘Hamlet’

Robert Greig reflects on the public and personal repositories of evidence that informed the narrative of his just published novel, In Forests based on the story of Ros Ballingall who reportedly disappeared in the Knysna Forest in 1969.

Who is entitled to a state funeral and what does it tell us about commemoration in South Africa?

Dineo Skosana considers debates that have arisen around the decision to accord the late Senzo Meyiwa and official provincial funeral.

Missing documents at the Department of Home Affairs

In our quest to understand the state of records management in the public sector the Archival Platform commissioned a number of ‘archive activists’ to access records that should be easily available to citizens, and to report back on their experiences. This post focuses on challenges encountered by an activist attempting to obtain an unabridged brith certificate from the Cape Town Regional Office of the Department of Home Affairs in Barrack Street. It moves on to discuss the role of unabridged birth certificates in human trafficking, children travelling and identity theft and closes with some thoughts on the Department’s digitisation policy as a solution to safeguarding paper records, applications and certificates.

Intangible heritage and the archive

Deirdre Prins-Solani considers the complex relationship between intangible heritage and the archive at the nexus of archive activism.

Don’s story: Part Two

Heather MacAlister describes Don’s first meeting with his mother.

People in the city

Lucelle Campbell comments on the plight of homeless people in Cape Town and the deep historical divisions that entrench inequalities in the city.

Governance-based evidence and service delivery protests

Isabel Schelnack-Kelly, responding to an Archival Platform post on the AGSA’s report on local government 2012-2013 considers the link between governance-based evidence and service delivery protests. She argues that the lack of credible information compromises accountability and fuels protests.

Social cohesion: a national imperative and a challenge for archivists

Jo-Anne Duggan considers some recent initiatives aimed at promoting social cohesion and asks what archivists can do to contribute to this challenge.

University of Fort Hare: Post-graduate Archives and Records Management diploma

Vuyani Booi offers an overview of the University of Fort Hare Post-graduate Archives and Records Management diploma programme

The Archive and Memory / Memory as Archive

Deirdre Prins-Solani reflects on the seamless ways in which memory and archives connect.