Continental pay-TV operator MultiChoice has collaborated with South Africa’s ruling
ANC party and the University of Fort Hare in the Eastern Cape to digitise the ANC’s
archives, which span a period of 92 years (1910-2002).
These archives, comprising video and audio tapes, printed material and photographs
are now available on the ANC’s “Archive’ website and accessible to all South Africans
as well as people from around the world. The digitised archives were handed over to
the ANC at a special ceremony in Sandton on 29 April.
Nolo Letele, executive chairman of MultiChoice, says: “MultiChoice is proud and
honoured to partner the ANC on a project that helps preserve a part of South Africa’s
history and heritage. The website will make documentation from the liberation
struggle available to a much wider public.’
MultiChoice sponsored high-end digital equipment at the University of Fort Hare to
convert the physical archives to digital format. A web portal was created to host the
digital archives which included documents, video and audio footage, meeting notes,
agendas, speeches, policy and personal documents held by various stalwarts of the
liberation struggle such as former President Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and Oliver
The website will provide access to basic material from the archives. Researchers or
institutions can register on the website to gain access to the full archives.
Researchers, students and even educational institutions can also use the website to
request copies of material from the archives.
Says Baleka Mbete, national chairperson of the ANC: “The ANC is thrilled about the
partnership with MultiChoice, University of Fort Hare and the Dutch Embassy. This
initiative will take us forward into the information and knowledge age, which will
benefit the nation and generations to come. This project will enrich our history as a
nation as it will correctly capture historic moments that took place during the period
of the struggle and beyond.’
The project digitised over 25,000 document pages, 2,193 audio tracks, 20,000 photos
and 774 videos over a period of six months. A dedicated team of 40 cataloguers from
the ANC, the University of Fort Hare and elsewhere were assigned to perform the
preservation and ingestion of the archive materials.
The original archives are officially housed at the University of Fort Hare and could
previously only be viewed by the public when visiting the university. Going forward,
the University of Fort Hare will manage the archives and continue to digitise further
important historical records.
The Dutch Embassy also handed over digitised material on the evening, which forms
part of the website content.
“The Netherlands wants to contribute to peace, security and prosperity in the world.
South Africa is an important partner in that respect and our cooperation in areas such
as trade and investment, education, defense, culture and migration are highly
appreciated. Sharing of knowledge, also on our common past and the struggle against
Apartheid, is an essential part of our cooperation. The transfer of the ANC Archives
from The Netherlands to South Africa underlines the respect that we have for South
Africa’s rich history.’ said HE Andre Haspels, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the
Netherlands to the Republic of South Africa.
To visit the website log onto http:/ancarchives.org.za/, which is also accessible
via mobile phones with internet connectivity.