HomeLife & StyleZvishavane gets community archive

Zvishavane gets community archive

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BY WINSTONE ANTONIO

HOME Affairs and Cultural Heritage minister Kazembe Kazembe says archives are crucial in creating and preserving memory spaces within communities accounting of their past and present.

Kazembe made the remarks in a speech read on his behalf by his deputy Ruth Mavungu-Maboyi at the launch of the Zvishavane Community archives project at Shabani Mine last week.

The project was implemented by the National Archives of Zimbabwe (NAZ), one of the departments of the Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage ministry.

“Among the many 100-day cycle projects that my ministry implemented in 2021, was the establishment of a community archive here at Shabani Mine. The National Archives managed to complete this historic community archive as planned during the seventh 100-day project cycle,” he said.

“The choice of Zvishavane was very strategic given the town’s rich mining history which is found in various manuscripts, minutes of meetings, policy files, personal files, maps, plans, drawings, machinery manuals from suppliers of equipment, technical manuals, books and a photographic collections.”

Kazembe added: “The collection proved to be vital and of enduring value, hence worth the investment and commitment by both parties. Under NDS1 (National Development Strategy One), my ministry has committed to set up more such community archives and institutions are encouraged to emulate Shabani Mine and partner NAZ to establish their own archives.”

“Of greater importance is the fact that it is at a community archive, that people can access first-hand facts, data, and evidence from letters, reports, notes, memos, photographs, and other primary sources.”

Kazembe said they decided to bring archives to communities as a way of setting up institutional memory spaces to promote the participation of communities in managing their own heritage.

“Government strives to achieve this by setting up more community information archives in each province, transferring knowledge on records, archives and information management, promoting an archiving culture among various institutions, and by promoting remote access to information,” he said.

“Our target is to initially establish 10 provincial community archives, at least one in each province. More archives will be rolled out at district level, until such a time when they reach village level.”

Kazembe said their wish was to continue cascading archives downwards as a way of preserving local communities’ history.

“Community archives are a reflection of our culture and identity, as a people, and are an important part of our heritage. Without archives or the appropriate management of archives, our ability to understand our history is diminished,” he said.

“To this end, people who may often be unrepresented or marginalised are given a golden platform to identify, explore and celebrate their own communities, thus cultivating a sense of belonging to their respective communities.”

Kazembe said NAZ had embarked on a programme to digitise film collections.

“Institutions are encouraged to adopt this modern way of preserving records. Archives are pivotal in transforming economies through research. Shabani Mine is set to benefit immensely from this community archive, since good record management guarantees operational efficiency and effectiveness,” he said.

“My ministry will keep supporting all willing and intending partners in the establishment of community archives.”

Zvishavane community archive is the fourth to be established after Girls High School, in Harare province, Arcturus High School, in Mashonaland East, and ZCC Mbungo, in Masvingo province with a fifth one in Kariba, Mashonaland West to be officially opened soon.

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