Speech delivered by Deputy Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi at the launch of National Archives Week at the Limpopo Archives building in Polokwane

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11 May 2015

Programme director
MEC for Sport, Arts and Culture, Ms Nandi Ndalane;
Your Worship the Executive Mayor of the City of Polokwane, Cllr Thembi Simelane-Nkadimeng;
Councillors present;
Acting Head of the National Archives, Ms Mandy Gilder;
International and National Archivists present;
Distinguished guests;
Members of the media;
Ladies and gentlemen

We have learnt with sadness and are still reeling in shock of the sudden and tragic passing on of talented Limpopo born gospel artist Mpho “Regalo” Gangashe. He passed away in a car accident together with his mother. May their Souls Rest in Peace.

Mpho Regalo as he was affectionately known by his fans, friends and peers in the music fraternity, participated in church functions as far as music was concerned, playing keyboard or singing.

In 2011, he recorded his debut album entitled “Testimony” produced by Taki “The Psalmist” Ndou. In 2013 he teamed up with some of his friends to establish their own production company called Holy Sounds. Still on that year he recorded his latest Live CD/DVD entitled “I am a winner”.

He has shared the stage with many artists, to mention but a few, Taki and Rofhiwa, Sfiso Ncwane, Sipho Makhabane, Lufuno Dagada, Keke and many others.

May I request that we all rise to observe a moment of silence.

Our meeting here today forms part of the Africa Month themed “We are Africa – Opening the doors of learning and culture to promote peace and friendship from Cape to Cairo”.

This Africa Month festival of ideas and cultural exchanges is a month long celebration of the power of arts and culture to build a humane, united, peaceful and prosperous African continent.

We are here to launch the National Archives Awareness Week scheduled to take place from today, 11th May until 15th May in Limpopo province, under the theme “Archives our Living Past”.

This year’s theme highlights Archives and Records Services as the memory bank of the nations where our past is preserved for present access for all. Archivist from 13 African countries such as Congo Brazzaville, Botswana, Namibia, Ghana, Senegal, Sudan, Burundi, Egypt, Algeria, Tanzania, Western Sahara and Mozambique are expected to participate in this archives week programme.

The archives week is intended to promote prominence to archival services and highlight career paths available within the profession. The campaign came after a decision was taken by International Council on Archives’ (ICA) conference that countries should popularize the profession and educate communities around the importance of archives in the preservation of societal memory.

Learners will get a chance to visit the provincial archives in Polokwane, Makwarela, Giyani and Lebowakgomo respectively.
The daily programme will include presentations on archival functions, exhibition viewing and tours, panel discussions on records management and preservations. The public is encouraged to visit the archive buildings to witness archival functions and services.

The importance of Archives is still not known by most people, especially in developing countries. Archivists have a challenge in ensuring that the public is educated and involved in Archival issues. Although there are marketing activities that the public archives have been involved in, more needs to be done by these institutions.

The National Archives Act defines what public and non-public records are. These are records that are generated by government, independent organisations, and individuals on historical important events, and most importantly recordings on community issues.
I want to take this opportunity to invite members of the public and all communities to donate oral history collections (in their custody) to the Archives (national or provincial). I assure you that your donations will be taken care of by our institutions. You as a donor have a right to give conditions for access, in consultation with the Archives, if you wish so.

There isn’t enough information collected on IKS and on the histories of black people in general. The National and Provincial Archives should intensify their efforts in this regards.

We have a rich history as a country which needs to be shared with the current and future generations. It is sad that most of the younger generation can’t even recite their own clan names. They need to know for example why we are called “Mokoena or Tau and so on. Let us give them opportunities to research more about their ancestors, their histories so that they can understand themselves, and speak proudly about who they are.

The Oral History Programme of the National Archives train learners on the oral history methodology. This should be expanded to Provincial Archives, especially those that have not started with the programme.

I have been told that Provinces such as Limpopo are in the process of establishing oral history associations so that these can step up efforts to collect more oral histories of the communities.

Records Management is one of the most important aspects of archiving. It assists government to be transparent and to be able to account for actions/activities. Good records keeping is a must and should be encouraged by all organisations especially government.

Our National Archives has entered into an Agreement with the Auditor General of South Africa to ensure that all government departments comply with the prescripts of the National Archives Act and other relevant legislation which makes reference to the importance of the proper records-keeping. We need to ensure that there is a Records Manager appointed in each department to instil good governance, efficiency and transparency. We have engaged DPSA, COGTA, Presidency’s (Monitoring and Evaluation Unit), to mention but a few, regarding a more comprehensive Memorandum of Understanding on proper records-keeping.

I am sure this is the case in our neighbouring countries, and in the Region as a whole. We need to share ideas and expertise so that we can make our Continent a better one.

I am sure that our fellow African countries will take such opportunities to share their experiences, challenges and successes with our Archivists and vise versa. Our histories are common and shared amongst the different countries in the Region and indeed the African Continent as a whole.

I want to take this opportunity to wish you a successful Archives Week, and hope this will be an extension of the good relations we have created as a Continent. WE ARE AFRICA

In conclusion, I invite you to view the archival exhibitions that are in the reception area. I will launch an exhibition on the “Founding Fathers (and Mothers) of African Liberation” at a later stage.

I thank you.