South Africa and France collaborate to digitise the iconic Rivonia Trial dictabelts

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09 Oct 2014

The Acting Director-General of the Department of Arts and Culture, Mr Vuyo Jack, invites members of the media to witness the official handover of the first batch of Rivonia Trial Dictabelts to the French Embassy for digitisation. The occasion will take place on Friday, 10 October 2014 at National Archives in Pretoria.

The digitisation of the dictabelts or converting them into an electronic format will amongst others support innovative methods of research including preservation of vulnerable, unique, rare and fragile heritage items or documents. Dictabelts were a sound recording format intended for use in offices. The recording material was an endless plastics belt about 3.5 inches wide and 12 inches circumference. If a belt was stored sharply folded for a long time, it would become permanently creased and unplayable without special treatment hence it was discontinued around 1980.

In South Africa, the Rivonia trial, named after the Johannesburg suburb where 16 leaders of the ANC were arrested, was recorded on dictabelt machines. About 200 Rivonia Trial dictabelts from a total of 562 dictabelt were identified as the first batch to be digitised in France and are expected to be back in South Africa in 2016.

The Details of the event are as follows:

Date                : 10 October 2014

Time                : 14h30           

Venue  : National Archives Building, 24 Hamilton Street, Arcadia, Pretoria

RVPs:  Madimetja Moleba: MadimetjaM@dac.gov.za: 072 842 6594, 012 441 3737                 

Enquiries: Mack Lewele: 082 450 5076