To whose stories will our archives be witness?
Harriet Deacon ponders on the stories told in South African galleries, museum exhibitions, archives and national heritage sites and wonders if there are imbalances and how they have been dealt with, and what new heritage forms have been acknowledged, and why.
Genres of the trace: memory, archives and trouble
An personal anecdote, extracted from a paper by Verne Harris in which he addresses the troubled and troubling relationship between archives and memory.
The Archival Platform visits Limpopo
Mbongiseni Buthelezi shares some observations about the Archival Platform’s visit to Limpopo and notes that, while the province faces many (archival) challenges, great strides are being made, largely due to the single-minded determination of individual officials!
The Archival Platform Team pays tribute to Nokhanyo Mhlana who passed away unexpectedly on 24 February 2013.
Curating 'Uncontained: opening the Community Arts Project archive'
Emile Maurice describes the choices and decisions that were made in the process of curating this exhibition, considers the role of the artist in post-apartheid South Africa and makes a cogent argument for the development of a viable and active community arts dispensation.
The NAAIRS: Promoting (or blocking) access to archival information!
Jo-Anne Duggan comments on the failure of the National Automated Archival Information System (NAAIRS) reports on the Department of Arts and Culture’s actions to remedy the situation and shares some information about some impressive new developments.
Depression, Despair and Danger: Digitisation at the Cape Town Deeds Office
The Archival Platform has received a rather disturbing communication about the state of records held by the Deeds Office in Cape Town. This post outlines the significance and responsibilities of the Deeds Office, describes the deplorable state of the records and makes some recommendations for improving the situation.
Oral histories and archiving memories in South Africa
Katie Mooney notes that collecting, and conserving memories cannot be achieved without employing oral history as a methodological tool and asks if enough is being done to ensure that this resource is preserved for the future.
Royal Archives Opened in Lesotho
Jesmael Mataga, Tefetso Mothibe and Maseokho Matsoai share information about the work and significance of Lesotho’s Royal Archives and Information Centre which opened to the public in November 2012.
The Open Government Partnership: What this means for records management and archives
Jo-Anne Duggan takes a closer look at this initiative, the commitments it requires from government and concludes that it may have a positive effect on archives and records management practice!
The Archival Platform visits the Free State and dashes across the border to Lesotho!
Jo-Anne Duggan reports on the Archival Platform’s visit to Lesotho and reflects on some of the issues this raised.
The Archival Platform Visits KwaZulu-Natal
The Archival Platform returned from their journey to KwaZulu Natal encouraged and inspired by the energy in the archival sector.
The Auditor General's findings on the Department of Arts and Culture 2012
The AGSA presented an overview of its audit findings on the Department of Arts and Culture and its entities to the Parliamentary Committee on Arts and Culture on 9 October 2012. While the AGSA's comments are pertinent and pressing, the Archival Platform is interested in what was said or, more importantly, not said about the National Archives: to probe the gaps and silences, and ask why the dire situation of the National Archives is almost invisible in this report.
The Protection of Personal Information Bill: safeguarding privacy or permitting secrecy?
The Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) has huge implications for all institutions or organisations which gather, retain, disseminate and dispose of personal information. It poses particular challenges for archival institutions which will have to manage their holdings far more robustly in future and develop appropriate codes of conduct for the management of personal information.
Is the NFVSA in a Position to Preserve our Audio-visual Heritage Properly?
This is the next in a series of posts about the National Archives and Records Service of South Africa, Mbongiseni Buthelezi assesses the current state of the National Film, Video and Sound Archives in view of its stated mission.
Orality, Record Keeping and Corruption: Is good record keeping un-African?
Mbongiseni Buthelezi mulls over whether emphasising oral story telling makes us complicit in corruption.
Overcoming Legacies of the Past?: The National Oral History Programme
This is the next in a series of posts about the National Archives and Records Service of South Africa. Its focus is the role of the National Archives in addressing the biases and gaps in the inherited archive. It revisits the vision of the National Archives Act no. 43 of 1996 as amended and the founding document of the National Oral History Programme adopted in 2001. It assesses what the current state of the intervention envisioned in these documents is.
Speaking through the cracks: spaces for debate between theory and practice
Harriet Deacon talks about the choices we make in finding spaces to talk about theory and practice in museums, heritage and archives.
State of the Archives: Lesotho
Sebinane Lekoekoe reports on the state of the archives in Lesotho. He argues that that they are of critical importance for the nation, and calls on government to ensure that the necessary legislative and management frameworks and financial support are put in place.
The Archival Platform visits The Northern Cape
The Archival Platform travelled to Kimberley in the Northern Cape to explore the province's archival landscape, interview archivists and visit archive and memory institutions as part of the research we are undertaking for the Archival Platform's State of the Archives Report.
The Inaugural Critical Heritage Studies Conference in Gothenburg, Sweden
Harriet Deacon reports on this meeting, the first multidisciplinary jamboree of its kind in the field, and on the establishment of the Association of Critical Heritage Studies.
The Intangible Heritage Researchers Forum Inaugural Meeting
Harriet Deacon reports on the role of researchers in relation to the Unesco Convention.
Field brat's blog from the bundu: another episode in the sorry saga of the Mthathta Archive
The brat continues his analysis of the fraught relationship between the Nelson Mandela Museum and its former lodger, the Mthatha Archive interviewing five of the key players.
Presidential pardons and the failures of memory
Unless the President takes it back to the TRC drawing-board, it threatens to further unravel the underpinnings of the reconciliation project, undermine the rule of law, promote cultures of impunity, and alienate people from the political domain.
The National Archives: Holding the records of government safe?
This is the first in a series of posts by Jo-Anne Duggan about the National Archives and Records Service of South Africa. It focuses on public records and why they are of significance for the past, present and future. It sets out the responsibilities and powers of the National Archives in respect of public records, describes some of the factors that impede the institution's delivery and proposes five critical requirements to remedy the situation.
Re-covering, un-covering and re-capturing a Human Rights Archive
Katie Mooney asks if and how it might be possible to address the gap in the archive created through the destruction of incriminating records in the early 1980s and 1990s.
2012 is the year of heritage! Could 2013 be the year of the archive?
Jo-Anne Duggan reflects on the Minister of Arts and Culture's Budget Vote Speech and poses a couple of questions about the state of the archive.
Field brat's blog from the bundu: creative archival practice
Brenton Maart, our Field Brat from the Bundu peers into contemporary South African scholarship of creative archival practice through art programmes and exhibitions
Should your GLAM be on Pinterest?
Harriet Deacon looks at the opportunities and possible pitfalls for cultural institutions (GLAMs) using the new interface provided by Pinterest.
'Somewhere on the Border': report on the panel discussion
Theresa Edlmann and Wesley Anderson report on a panel discussion co-hosted by the Archival Platform and the Legacies of Apartheid Wars project which brought men and women from the SADF and liberation groups together to reflect on their experiences and the legacies of the apartheid era wars.
Field brat's blog from the bundu: the Mthatha archives
Brenton Maart describes the irony of the displacement of the Mthatha archives - an invaluable collection spanning more than one hundred years of South African history - from its historic home in the Bhunga Building (today the premises of the Nelson Mandela Museum) into a 'temporary' structure where its records rapidly disintegrate into tatters and ruins.
Opportunities in the digital age: what the National Development Plan means for cultural institutions
Harriet Deacon reflects on the challenges and opportunities facing cultural institutions in South Africa in planning for a digital future under the new National Development Plan's Vision for 2030.
Field brat's blog from the bundu
The first in a series by Brenton Maart, on his research into the archives of the former 'homelands'.
What’s in a (street) name?
Jo-Anne Duggan looks into the issues of naming, renaming and the politics of history and memory.
Opening 'Pandora's box': archives as sites of hurt and hope
Jo-Anne Duggan reflects on the power of archives tounleash secrets, lies and uncomfortable truths - but also to bring hope.
Silences, secrets and memory
Jo-Anne Duggan considers some of the hotly debated issues of 2011.
The 6th Session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Heritage
Harriet Deacon reports on this important gathering held in Bali from 22 to 29 November 2011.
DISH 2011 conference: Thinking about digital strategies for heritage
Harriet Deacon reports on DISH 2011, an international conference on digital strategies for heritage.
'The Visual Century' Johannesburg launch
A few weeks ago, Thokozani Mhlambi attended a seminar held at Wits to launch Visual Century, a four-volume publication that revises the history of visual art from a post-apartheid point of view.
What does the Protection of State Information Act mean for archives?
Jo-Anne Duggan reflects on the implications of this contentious Bill.
Am I my Children's Hair?
Xolelwa Kashe-Katiya writes about her personal experiences of having to deal with the politics of hair with her children.
Good hair, bad hair
Harriet Deacon continues the series on hair and heritage by reviewing the US literature on African-American experiences with hair and racism.
The Zulu Society Archive
Thokozani Mhlambi shares some thoughts on the archives of the Zulu Society. members of this society were instrumental in initiating the first radio broadcasts in Zulu in the late 1930s.
Civil society archives: what role do they play in and how can we sustain them?
Jo-Anne Duggan considers the importance of civil society archives and the organisations that collect and make these accessible.
Ten reflections on heritage in a time of change
Jo-Anne Duggan reflects on some of the broad concerns that have shaped our heritage practice in recent years.
Old Bones or Ancestors?
Xolelwa Kashe-Katiya discusses how human remains are revered as ancestors in different contexts.