1st Edition

Indigenous Archives in Postcolonial Contexts Recalling the Past in Africa

By Mpho Ngoepe, Sindiso Bhebhe Copyright 2024
    160 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Indigenous Archives in Postcolonial Contexts revisits the definition of a record and extends it to include memory, murals, rock art paintings and other objects.

    Drawing on five years of research and examples from Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa, the authors analyse archives in the African context. Considering issues such as authentication, ownership and copyright, the book considers how murals and their like can be used as extended or counter archives. Arguing that extended archives can reach people in a way that traditional archives cannot and that such archives can be used to bridge the gaps identified within archival repositories, the authors also examine how such archives are managed and authenticated using traditional archival principles. Presenting case studies from organisations such as Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action Archives (GALA) and heritage projects such as the Makgabeng Open Cultural Museum, the authors also analyse Indigenous family praises and songs and explore how such records are preserved and transmitted to the next generation.

    Indigenous Archives in Postcolonial Contexts demonstrates how the voices of the marginalised can be incorporated into archives. Making an important contribution to the effort to decolonise African archives, the book will be essential reading for academics and students working in archival studies, library and information science, Indigenous studies, African studies, cultural heritage, history and anthropology.

    Prologue: Reimagining Indigenous Archives

    1 Conceptualisation and recontextualisation of indigenous archival constructs 

    2 Decolonisation or (re)Africanisation of archives?

    3 Authentication of indigenous archives 

    4 Ownership, copyright, and 'copyleft' of indigenous archives

    5 Decolonisation and (re)Africanisation in action: a case study of community memory practices

    6 Sustainable structures for indigenous archives in the postcolonial context

    Epilogue: Reflections and reflexivity



    Mpho Ngoepe is a professor of information science and the Executive Director of Library and Information Services at the University of South Africa (Unisa). He was previously the Head of Information Science at the same institution. He worked for several organisations, including the National Archives of South Africa and the Auditor-General of South Africa. His research interests include archives, libraries, records management, indigenous archives, authentication, oral history, literature, and archival theories.

    Sindiso Bhebhe is a post doctoral research fellow at the University of South Africa (Unisa). He holds a PhD in Information Science from Unisa. He has previously worked for the National Archives of Zimbabwe, and the National University of Science and Technology in Zimbabwe. His research interests include oral history, indigenous archives, and digital records management.