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Preserving nation’s recorded history

2023-02-13  Van Wyk Amutenya

Preserving nation’s recorded history

The National Archives of Namibia (NAN) on Thursday launched its first-ever in-house record restoration facility in Windhoek, aimed at repairing and preserving the nation’s recorded history, as well as providing access to users.

The National Records Restoration Facility is made possible by the German government, through the Landesarchiv (state archives) in Baden-Württemberg, Stuttgart, at N$1 306 167, inclusive of a donation of 3 500 archival boxes.

Speaking at the event, deputy executive director for the Department of Life Long Learning, Arts and Culture Gerard Vries said without proper records management practices, audits cannot be carried out, fraud cannot be proven and those responsible for the financial management of organisations cannot be held accountable for their actions. 

He continued that the NAN provides the nation with a well-documented and well-preserved collection of records that reflect the history and aspirations of the Namibian people. 

The NAN is further responsible to advise offices, ministries and agencies on best practices and standards in the management of public records.

German Ambassador Herbert Beck said Germany and Namibian archivists created and set up the new record restoration facility in just three weeks; further training and other measures have also been agreed upon.

“The German government already supported efforts of NAN in the past through providing funding to the value of about N$250 000 for the procurement of a microfilm scanner, used at NAN for reading and digitising material stored on microfilm,” said Beck.

He added that the project came into effect from a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2020 between the two governments.

“Since 2019, the national archives are responsible for the preservation of the Bible of Hendrick Witbooi which was returned by Baden Wurtemberg to Namibia in that year,” noted Beck.

He was quoted as saying they want to jointly work on their colonial past and turn a new leaf for cooperation. 

“This includes connecting Namibian and German museums, universities and archives through joint scientific and cultural cooperation projects,” Beck said.

Speaking at the event, the director of Namibian Library and Archive Services in the education ministry, Sarah Negumbo said they have records, dating as early as 1900 but due to fragility and tear, some of the records are not accessible to the public. 

She was delighted that they now have the knowledge and equipment to repair the damaged records. 

Two officials from the Landesarchiv (State Archive) Baden-Württemberg were sent to Namibia to assist National Archives staff members with the setting up of the facility, which currently employs two trained archivists.


2023-02-13  Van Wyk Amutenya

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