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« Unboxing Mayibuye - Access to digital heritage » 

« Unboxing Mayibuye - Access to digital heritage » 

 « Unboxing Mayibuye - Access to digital heritage » project : le Robben Island Museum, INA and Agence Française de Développement join forces to preserve and give access to anti-apartheid movement archives.

Robben Island Museum and the Mayibuye Archives

Located in Cape Town, the Robben Island Museum is composed of the former Robben Island prison, which has been transformed into a heritage site and of an archival collections, “Mayibuye Archives”. Created in the early 1990s at the University of the Western Cape and integrated into the Robben Island Museum in 2002, this collection consists of unique materials (historical documents, audiovisual archives, photographic archives, objects, etc.) illustrating the multiple facets of the resistance against apartheid within and beyond the borders of South Africa.

The Unboxing Mayibuye project

Initiated for a period of three years, the "Unboxing Mayibuye" project, financed by the Agence Française de Développement as part of its missions in support of a sustainable development of Cultural and Creative Industrives, associates the Robben Island Museum and INA, with the objective of creating the conditions for the preservation, management and access to the collections of the "Mayibuye Archives". In addition, this tripartite collaboration aims to make the Robben Island Museum a regional center of expertise, with the capacity to disseminate its own technical skills in the area of preservation, digitization and access to archives.

This project of digitization and access of the Mayibuye Archives collections is an opportunity for the Robben Island Museum to extend access to its collections to wider audiences, so that the memory of South Africa's anti-colonial and anti-apartheid struggles remains alive in the consciousness of the country and the world.

Project activities

To this end, the project includes two phases: a first phase to analyze the Robben Island Museum existing situation and its needs in technical and training terms, aiming at collecting all the information necessary to define and implement the project's roadmap; and a second phase, covering the 2nd and 3rd years of the project, provides training plan (regional training sessions, onsite training action) and support and consulting actions in all areas of the safeguarding, management and access to the collections.

In addition, to ensure the immediate implementation of this collaboration, an emblematic selection of the Mayibuye Archives collections will be digitized and made accessible within the framework of cultural, scientific and educational activities, co-created by the Robben Island Museum and INA.

These activities are designed and implemented by INA, as the project technical partner, with the contribution of French partners (French National Archives, Tribun, etc.) to carry out specific training or consulting missions.

INA in South Africa

The project is a continuation of INA's relationship with its South African archival and digital partners:

- 2013-2018 : INA signed a Cooperation Agreement with the Department of Arts & Culture (DAC) and the National Archives of South Africa (NARSSA), for the preservation of the Rivonia trial recordings. The agreement had three components: (1) the digitization and restoration of the dictabelts (audio carriers) by INA; (2) training of NARSSA staff; and (3) access and cultural actions to promote the collection.

- 2019: INA signed a Cooperation agreement with Tshimologong, a Johannesburg digital incubator, for the implementation of training actions, cultural events, etc.


Clothilde Roullier (Archives Nationales), Caroline Wintein (Artefacts coordinator, RIM), Christine Braemer  (Training manager INA)



Thomas Monteil  (Project manager & audiovisual archives expert INA)

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