PROJECT: Digitizing History: The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission Archive

Bernard C. Moore (Michigan State University) has published a post on MSU’s Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative blog, detailing the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) Truth and Reconciliation Commission website. Moore opens by describing the impetus behind the project and its construction. Launched in coordination with the South African History Archive in 2013, in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s submission to the government, the site is “Based largely on digitization of the Special Report television series” and “seeks to make the Truth and Reconciliation Commission proceedings and accompanying transcripts and documentation available to the public.”¬†Moore also comments on the technical capabilities and limitations of the¬†site, which relies¬†on embedded YouTube videos hosted on the¬†SABC YouTube page. He writes: “The website is complete and will not be added to…. Therefore, we must use the archive knowing that it is a final product.” As the Introduction hosted on the SABC TRC website explains:

Broadcast by the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) every week between 21 April 1996 and 29 March 1998, the eighty seven part television series covered the first two of five years of the TRC hearings, which were concluded at the end of 2000.

The weekly reviews of the Truth Commission Special Report team offer invaluable insights into the processes and content of the TRC’s work during this period. Presented in an accessible manner – by providing context to public hearings through historic audio-visual material and exclusive interviews with victims, perpetrators, witnesses, specialists in a given field, and more – the series contributed to the TRC’s pursuit of revealing the truth about, and engendering a deeper engagement with, South Africa’s past conflicts.

dh+lib Review

This post was produced through cooperation among Katrien Deroo, Arianne Hartsell-Gundy, Alix Keener, Pam Lach, Alexis Logsdon, Elizabeth Lorang, and Shilpa Rele (Editors-at-large for the week), Caitlin Christian-Lamb (Editor for the week), Sarah Potvin (Site Editor), and Caro Pinto, Roxanne Shirazi, and Patrick Williams (dh+lib Review Editors).