In the Headlines
The Archival Platform’s State of the Archives: an analysis of South Africa will be launched on 25 March 2015. Here is the Executive Summary and Introduction to the document.
This comprehensive report details dysfunction and distress in the state’s record-keeping across a wide variety of sectors, from local government records to historical archives. This has serious implications for a range of essential processes in South Africa that depend on records, such as land claims, local governance, infrastructure development and corruption prevention. The report also notes the disappearance of important historical documents and a disintegration of many existing archives.
Approximately 13,000 documents historical records relevant to the development of South Africa’s constitution and the founding of its constitutional democracy have been digitized and made available through the Constitutional Court Trust’s Archive of Constitution making.
The aim of this project is to develop and promote understandings of the archival possibilities of materials located both within and outside of formal archives and to facilitate their engagement. It does this in order to stimulate interest, research and enquiries into the southern African past.
Africa is a Country is publishing a fascinating series of posts on Digital Archives. Written by Liz Timbs, a PhD Candidate in African History at Michigan State Univeristy, the series focuses on digital projects, based on the continent and elsewhere, that are working to make more resources about Africa’s past and present available.
Amongst the many challenges identified in the Report of the SAHRC Investigative Hearing: Monitoring and Investigating the Systemic Challenges Affecting the Land Restitution Process in South Africa are several that have to do directly with records and record keeping.
A recent ruling by the Western High Court has put access to court documents, previously available to the media, in jeopardy.
The Right2Know Campaign’s 2014 ‘Secret State of the Nation’ report offers a snapshot study of trends, patterns and challenges with secrecy in South Africa.
Twenty years after it was first published, the Nelson Mandela Foundation turns to the archive to correct Long Walk to Freedom
The South Gauteng High Court has given the Ministry of Police 30 days to release a public list of National Key Points. Well done to SAHA and the R2K Campaign!
Chris Saunders asks whether South African authorities will give effect to the United Nations Resolution calling for the release any relevant records in their possession that relate to the death of Dag Hammarskjöld in September 1961.
In their comments, the NMF point to three ‘profoundly flawed assumptions underpinning the principles: the document embraces a concept of the archivist as an impartial custodian; the document assumes that is is addressing the contexts of a stable, mature and well functioning democracy and; the uncritical assumption of ‘the law’, ‘the state’ and ‘the profession’ as sources of authority.
Collecting and preserving born digital heritage is a major challenge. Tthe UNESCO PERSIST project, a cooperation between UNESCO, the International Council on Archives (ICA), the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), LIBER, the National Library of the Netherlands and the Digital Heritage Netherlands Foundation (DEN), is now setting out to collect and share worldwide best practices and guidelines on selecting policies and digital strategies.
The international Mandela Dialogues process has seen the generation of a document which challenges many orthodoxies in what is called transitional justice theory and practice. It is published as a contribution to deliberations in the many countries facing the challenge of reckoning with oppressive pasts.