Digitising the archive (Nelson Mandela Centre for Memory)

The Nelson Mandela Foundation’s Centre of Memory houses Nelson Mandela Archive that includes Madiba’s private papers, office papers and associated papers. The digitisation project aims at creating a virtual archive by documenting, enabling access and preservation, and promoting the utilisation of the writings and life and times of Nelson Mandela. Although analogue materials can survive for centuries if they are kept under proper conditions, it is important for them to be digitised so that they can be accessible and readily available.

Over the past few years, the archive team has been working at digitising and cataloguing both the collections under the custodianship of the Foundation as well as maintaining associations with other related collection owners and institutions. The archivists' role in digitising the archives is to work and manage modern access systems, work with legacy material and equipment, and handle valuable assets. One must handle every item carefully, that is with clean and dry hands and to ensure that there is no food and liquid close to the machines or archival materials all the time.

Read more here. Foundation archivist Zandile Myeka recently wrote about archival challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic here.