Gwanda RDC establishes community archives for heritage preservation Gwanda RDC CEO, Mr Ranganai Sibanda

Yoliswa Dube-Moyo, Matabeleland South Bureau Chief

THE establishment of community archives at Gwanda Rural District Council is taking shape as calls for the need to preserve the history of local communities grow louder.

Archives are the documentary by-product of human activity or contemporary records created by individuals and organisations as they go about their daily activities to provide a direct window into the past.

They can be written, photographic, moving picture, auditory, digital, or analogue and come in a variety of media. Around the world, public and private entities, as well as individuals, hold archives.

The Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage is working on establishing an archives centre in each of the country’s 10 provinces to preserve the history of local communities.

So far, the archive centres have been established in four provinces; Masvingo, Harare, Mashonaland East and West.

Gwanda Rural District Council chief executive officer Mr Ranganai Sibanda said the institution had already started benefitting from good archiving practice as the process progresses.

“We now have our records in good order although the process is yet to be completed. We now have ease of referencing and no longer struggle to find documents. If for example one is looking for minutes from 2005, it’s easy to locate them as a result of the new archiving system implemented,” said Mr Sibanda.

Regarding the establishment of community archives at Gwanda Rural District Council, the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Kazembe Kazembe reported that the project is at 70 percent completion and is scheduled to be completed by the end of the cycle.

Speaking at a public lecture to commemorate International Archives Week recently, Professor Nathan Mnjama, a lecturer at the University of Botswana said archives play a significant role in society.

“They enable us to preserve our corporate memory. They enable us to enjoy our rights and entitlements. They protect our benefits. They impact us in every area of living. We need to preserve each and every record related to every aspect of our lives.

We do not have enough record offices. We do not have national archives in many of our local areas. They tend to be centralised in capital cities. If one is looking for the historical information of the nation, they have to travel to the capital city in most cases.

“Most of our institutions are not collecting certain aspects of records. We are not comprehensively collective. People are not even aware of what archives are all about and there is a need to educate communities so that they appreciate the role of archives. There are people holding valuable records in their homes which the archivists are not aware of, therefore the campaign can be helpful in such cases,” he said.

– @Yolisswa



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