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Preserve historical information

 The preservation of factual historical information in line with the evolving technological developments, is very critical for the country’s development.

The Assistant Minister for Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Dikgang Makgalemele said this during the commemoration of International Archives Day on June 10

The theme for the celebration, Designing the Archives in the 21st Century, he said, resonates with President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s call to transform the country from a natural resource based economy towards a knowledge-based economy.

 Makgalemele said there is an urgent need to document the country’s history, noting that the theme should not only be applied during the commemoration, but rather be used as a yardstick to measure how much the country has achieved in this area.

 It is within this spirit, the assistant minister said, researchers, academics and the public need to define their role in operationalising the theme.

He also highlighted that the theme is relevant as it allows the country to appreciate the evolution of technology in the area of archives, thus calling for the designing of archives that can cope with the demands of globalisation.

Makgalemele also asserted that the theme brings a challenge to cultural-documentary heritage institutions, to demonstrate how they respond to the call to design governance programmes, and the design of archival spaces for preservation, access and discovery, that meets the citizen’s needs within the knowledge based economy trajectory.

“In other words, we are challenged to put our communities in the centre stage while designing archives,” he added.

 Therefore, the assistant minister called on archivists and records managers to make vital decisions on which documents will be saved for posterity.

Makgalemele noted that it is within this context that government found it necessary to establish an institution such as the Botswana National Archives and Records Services (BNARS) to coordinate management of public sector records and acquire materials that relate to the country’s heritage.

This institution, he highlighted, has a bi-directional relationship with the trajectory of a knowledge-based economy.

 Archives, the assistant minister noted, are an oil to the cogwheel of a knowledge based economy, therefore, he said that plans must be in place to ensure that in the 21st century, no one is left behind.

 Consequently, he mentioned that archivists today are challenged more than yesteryear’s professionals because of the fluid communications space.

 He, therefore, called on them to refine and re-sharpen their skills so that the current insurgency in information processing and archival administration could be met.

 He also noted that the department is currently implementing the Archives and Records Management System despite its previous challenges.

Makgalemele explained that the intention is to leverage information technology to improve the public sector records management process, efficiency and provide archives services online.

Furthermore, the assistant minister also explained that there is need to understand the relevance of archives in the attainment of sustainable development goals.

Archives, he said, can assist the country to establish patterns of events relating to economic efforts in addressing poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, peace and justice.

A lecturer at the University of Botswana, Dr Bongani Gumbo highlighted that archives are a source of knowledge for researchers.

He applauded the commemoration for creating awareness on the role of archives in society.

 Archives, Dr Gumbo explained, contain primary sources such as letters, minutes of meetings, which have not been published.

These, he noted, were still key as archives repositories are still used to resolve disputes, giving the example of the Sedudu. ENDs

 

Source : BOPA

Author : Puso Kedidimetse

Location : FRANCISTOWN

Event : Commemoration of International Archives Day

Date : Jun 11 Tue,2019

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