Provenance, identification, restitution and management of the liberation struggle heritage in the ESARBICA region
The liberation struggle was an important epoch in contemporary history and the documentation so created remains a nation’s cultural capital which is a treasured national asset to be bequeathed to future generations. It is therefore incumbent upon archivists to preserve the legacy of the liberation struggle that is contained in those few records that were created. Consequently, this calls upon archivists to implement sound archival management practices and principles in establishing the provenance of these records and ensuring that they are located in their rightful place. This paper assessed the extent to which archival institutions entrusted with custody of liberation archives within ESARBICA had executed this task. Between 2006 and 2009, the author undertook a regional assessment of the liberation struggle heritage within the East and Southern Africa Regional Branch of the International Council on Archives (ESARBICA). The assessment was part of a dissertation project for a PhD degree in Information Studies at the University of KwaZulu – Natal, South Africa. With the data gathered from a survey, interviews and observations it is gratifying to note that much of the liberation heritage had been identified, repatriated and the requisite documentation put in place. However, most of the organizations failed to quantify the volume of records pertaining to national liberation movements. This means that most organisations cannot adequately articulate their needs in terms of equipment, staff and space for the storage of documents. The implication could be that the records in their custody are not being professionally managed. It was evident from this present research that the bulk of liberation struggle archives are in image form and considering that this type of record is susceptible to damage compared to paper; the need for its sound management cannot be overstated.
Keywords: Liberation struggle heritage, liberation archives, migrated archives, provenance, ESARBICA