Contribute to the history of Africa

The management of Freedom Park invites members of the public to donate their African artefacts in support of the park's goals of preserving and telling the history of the continent. Speaking to Rekord on the sideline of a seminar on the Pan African Archives (PAA) at Freedom Park last Thursday, the park's CEO, Fana Jiyane, said they understood that it was not easy for people to part with their artefacts, because of the sentimental value. But he assured donors that their artefacts would be properly preserved and made accessible to a much wider audience. He explained that the PAA was one of the four elements of Freedom Park, which includes S'khumbuto, Isivivane and //hapo. The archives are a central component of the park. These are where the research data of the monument is produced, stored, conserved and processed for public viewing.

"The PAA is a living archive, because it allows the public to engage with the collections and contributes by means of telling their own stories and experiences through dialogues and seminars," Jiyane said. Among the first people to donate their artefacts were Albio Gonzalez, Karin Singh, Tessa Colvin and Julialynne Walker. Gonzalez donated to the Medu collection. The Medu Art Ensemble was a cultural association in Botswana, a resistance movement with the prime goal of creating a cultural front against the apartheid regime. It set out to teach art to both South African exiles and local Gaborone residents. The Singh collection spans many decades and covers, among others, the subject of international solidarity against apartheid, especially from Eastern Europe. It includes support from the United Nations, the Olympic Committee and lobby groups against apartheid, the International Organisation of Journalists as well as the support from European communist parties and trade unions. The collection includes documents of the liberation movements from Latin America, Asia and the Middle East. Also on display are exhibits documenting the work of the Black Sash, formed by women who called themselves the Women's Defence of the Constitution League, formed in 1955.

Those who would like to donate their collections or artefacts are urged to contact Lilian Kekana on 012-336-4000/4074. Fana Jiyane, Freedom Park CEO, with Julialynne Walker, one of the donors, at the Pan African seminar at //hapo in Freedom Park on Thursday.