Arts and Culture commemorates World Audiovisual Heritage Day

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27 Oct 2015
Today marks the commemoration of the World Audiovisual Heritage Day. The UNESCO General Council proclaimed 27 October as the annual World Audiovisual Heritage Day to create global awareness of the various issues at stake in preserving the audiovisual heritage. Sound recordings and moving images in any form are vulnerable, and easily discarded or deliberately destroyed.
This year’s theme for the World Audiovisual Heritage Day is, “Archives at Risk: Protecting the World's Identities"
The Department of Arts and Culture through its National Film, Video and Sound Archive of South Africa (NFVSA), an affiliate of various International Archives bodies and the largest audiovisual archive in the African continent contribute to the awareness for the preservation and safeguarding of South Africa’s audiovisual heritage. In the holdings of the NFVSA there are more than half a million recordings (audio and visual) that are being preserved for posterity.
“Audiovisual records portray our common heritage whether this is in the form of daily news broadcasts; advertisements for popular but passing fads or more symbolic events that are representative of the cultural identity of a people”, said Deputy Minister Mabudafhasi.
“Much of the world's audiovisual heritage has already been irrevocably lost through neglect, destruction, decay and the lack of resources, skills, and structures, thus impoverishing the memory of mankind. Unless public awareness of the importance of preservation is increased, this trend will continue,” remarked Mabudafhasi.
Transcending language and cultural boundaries, appealing immediately to the eye and the ear, to the literate and illiterate, audiovisual records/archives have transformed societies in that the information complements the written record.
The National Film, Video and Sound Archive of South Africa is currently in the process to digitise the Dictabelts on the Rivonia Trial (that was listed in UNESCO’s Memory of the World Programme). These Dictabelts recording are the ONLY COMPLETE records of the Rivonia Trial. 267 restored and digitised files of this Trial are in the process of being transcribed so that they can be made available to all South Africans to celebrate their liberation history. In these sound recordings, we are already able to hear the voices of Bram Fischer challenging the witnesses called by Percy Yutar to build the case of the State versus Nelson Mandela and 9 others.
“Safeguarding audiovisual heritage is a complex process requiring a range of technical, political, human and financial solutions. Not taking action will result in the loss of entire chapters of our heritage in less than ten years, and lead to impoverishment of our identity” concludes Mabudafhasi.
Enquiries: Peter Mbelengwa – Spokesperson for the Deputy Minister
                    082 611 8197 /