Minister Meyer at the Launch of National Archives Week | Western Cape Government

Speeches

Minister Meyer at the Launch of National Archives Week

8 May 2011

Good morning, and welcome to the Provincial Archives. During my first few weeks as Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport in the Western Cape, I made a point of visiting the Archives, as without them our history would be forgotten. I also spent many afternoons while writing my thesis in this building, so I understand and appreciate the value of the service that the Provincial Archives provides to our public. It is my hope that through National Archives Week we can expose even more members of our public to the Archives service and educate our public on how they can make use of the Archives.

The programme for National Archives Week, under the theme of "Archives for the past, present and future", will run every day from Monday, 9 May, to Friday, 13 May, from 08:00 to 15:00. The special commemorative activities include guided tours of the building, slide shows and exhibitions. Amongst the exhibitions is the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Travelling Exhibition, which was launched in December last year. These tours are no longer than an hour, so I encourage everyone to come and visit the Archives, maybe find out about your family history, look into the history of our beautiful province, or just come and appreciate a service that is so valuable to our society and has been active since as far back as 1876.

Free workshops are being offered, namely a two-day workshop on Basic Bookbinding and Paste Paper Making (11-12 May 2011), and the very popular workshop on Family History using the many archival sources allowing people to find out about their heritage. Due to the intense one-on-one instruction required for both courses, participant numbers for the two workshops will be limited to 20 participants each. I have been told that it is highly recommended that you book for these workshops well in advance in order to avoid disappointment.

The Western Cape Archives and Records Service is the custodian of South Africa's earliest written records, dating from 1651 to the recent past. Any member of the public may have access to the Archives through the Reading Room, which is open Monday to Friday (08:00 to 16:00) and can take advantage of an extended service on Thursdays (until 19:00) and the first Saturday of each month (09:00 to 13:00).

A popular research topic has always been family history (genealogy), but the Archives are also used for a variety of purposes, such as obtaining degrees, research for publication purposes, research projects (land claims) and for civil rights purposes. Many scholars and academics from overseas use the Archives for researching their dissertations and further post-doctoral research.

Media Enquiries: 

Greg Wagner
Media Liaison Officer
Cell: 072 623 4499

National Archives Week Details:

For group visits and for more information, please contact:
Siyabonga Ntamesi
E-mail: sntamesi@pgwc.gov.za
Tel: 021 466 8122
Fax: 021 465 2960

For the Paste Paper Making and Basic Bookbinding Workshop, please contact:
Mary Minicka
E-mail: mminicka@pgwc.gov.za
Tel: 021 466 8119

For the Family Research Workshop, please contact:
Jaco van der Merwe
E-mail: jfvdmerwe@pgwc.gov.za
Tel: 021 466 8117