Category: Archival Platform

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 beween intagible heritage and the archive at the nexus of archive actvism.

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.

The Archive and Memory / Memory as Archive

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

Social Cohesion, the TRC and Justice

Mbongiseni Buthelezi reflects an op-ed published on the Daily Maverick website on 27 June 2014 and written by Jane Quin titled “De Kock ordered my sister’s killing – and no, his debt is not paid”. Buthelezi concludes that It is nimperatve, for the project of social cohesion, to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of apartheid-era crimes and human rights violations.

Jacqui Quin and Leon Meyer: The life of a photograph

Jo-Anne Duggan traces the fascinating life story of the photograph of Jaqui and her husband Leon Meyer taken in the mortuary in Maseru and published in the Sunday Times on 22 December 1985. The life of this particular picture took a couple of unexpected turns as it made its way in the world. It didn’t, like others published in the same edition of the newspaper slip quietly into obscurity, to lie dormant in the archive. It left its mark on the family and on the photographer and it took on another life, inspiring a novel and being implicated in some way or another in a bombing.

Opening the TRC Archive: a SAHA case study

Catherine Kennedy, director of the South African History Archive (SAHA) describes the work her organisation has done to making the work and records of, and surrounding, the South African TRC more readily accessible, drawing on the recommendations made by the TRC itself to direct its work. 

What are our parliamentarians saying and hearing about archives?

The Archival Platform has argued that the significance of the archives, and the role that national and provincial archives and records services play in ensuring the proper management and care of all government records is insufficiently recognised and acknowledged by our leaders and decision-makers. In this post Jo-Anne Duggan turns to the Hansard to find out what our parliamentarians are saying - and hearing - about archives.

The AGSA’s report on local government 2012- 2013: Implications for records management

The AGSA’s Consolidated general report on the audit outcomes of Local Government 2012-2013 indicates that in many instances record keeping is inadequate of non-existent! In this post we consider the statements made about the state of record keeping in this report, and the measures put in place to improve the situation.

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.

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.

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.

Archives and the “Clouds”: Legacy, Accountability and Structure

Graham Dominy’s blog examines the state of the archives system in South Africa in terms of its constitutional, legal and administrative mandates. This post is s based on a seminar presented at the Public Affairs Research Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand in May 2013.