Arts and Culture Dept preserves audiovisual heritage

Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Department of Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa has taken the steps to ensure that current and future generation will have a chance to see and hear South African heritage through the launch of the online digitised audiovisual recordings.

Minister Nathi Mthethwa said “armed with these digitized recordings of the Rivonia Trial, we shall be able to tell the full story of this trying period in our history with sound, words and silences to present and future generations in all its glory, its horror and ultimately its triumphs.”

 The Minister will launch the digitised recordings on 17 November 2017 at the National Archives and Records Services of South Africa in Pretoria.

Audio-visual archives are a cornerstone of the memory of the world which give citizens access to pieces of history at the touch of a button.   The safeguarding and preservation is key to the protection of world heritage.

 Sound recordings and moving images in any form are vulnerable, and easily discarded or deliberately destroyed. The department said public awareness of the importance of audiovisual recordings was necessary as much of this type of heritage is lost through neglect, natural decay and technological obsolescence.  

 The launch of the digitized audiovisual recordings is in response to a proposal by the Czech Republic in October 2005 made at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) General Conference. The conference approved the proclamation of 27 October as the annual World Day for Audiovisual Heritage. This year’s celebration took place under theme, "Discover, remember and share ".

 The digitisation of the recordings is the fruit borne from the Minister’s budget vote speech this year.

“Through the co-operation project between L’Institut National De L’Audiovisuel (INA) and the National Archives and Records Services of South Africa involving the digitisation of dictabelts and the training of South African Archivists on the digitisation and restoration of dictabelts, the resultant Rivonia Trial Recordings will be made available to all South African citizens and the world at large on 27 October 2017 when we celebrate UNESCO’s World Day for Audio-visual Heritage”

In 2018, South Africans can look forward to more recordings from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) audio-cassettes and papers from renowned writer and journalist and Bloke Modisane.

“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. The collective memory of the different peoples of the world provides the foundation for sustainable development, the defense of basic rights and an understanding of the past. But that memory needs to remain accessible,” said Minister Mthethwa. –


Most Read

SA News on Facebook