Sinomlando

The Ulwazi Programme has completed its first round of training with librarian and volunteer field-workers.  This involved training on how to edit the wiki, where the indigenous knowledge is stored, and how to use the audiovisual equipment (cameras, digital recorders, etc.).

The second phase of training, due to start next week, will involved Sinomlando providing oral history training.  From their website:

“In Zulu sinomlando means: “we have a history”. The Sinomlando Centre for Oral History and Memory Work in Africa started at the School of Religion and Theology, University of KwaZulu-Natal, in 1996 as a way of developing a new vision about the history of Christianity in Southern Africa. Relying almost exclusively on written sources, missionary history has traditionally been written from a western perspective.

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Digitising books – An African solution?

I was recently asked to put together a proposal for a mission publisher located in a small, African kingdom.  Their archives include documents dating as far back as 1826 and they were interested in finding out how this archive could be digitized for preservation purposes and as a means to provide access to researchers and academics.  The main problems they faced were limited funds, no expertise and outdated equipment.

So, to reduce costs and to protect fragile printed materials I proposed the digitization process take place on site, with the scanning conducted by a  staff member who would work as a digitization assistant for the duration of the project.  This assistant would need to be trained in the digitization procedures, which would consist of the following:

  • Each page is converted into a digital image by scanning
  • The original image is saved as a high-res version on an external drive
  • This image is then cleaned and cropped
  • Text-recognition software is run over the file
  • The book or document is saved as PDF

The basic equipment required would be a laptop, a scanner (specialized for scanning books) and an external drive (for storage), with DVDs provided for backup purposes.

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ALONG THE WAY, 2008

Photograph by Roger Jardine

Artist
Roger Jardine, Niall McNulty and Tamlyn Young

City
Durban

Project info

Along the Way is a project inspired by Doung Anwar Jahangeer ‘sCityWalk. In December 2007 a call went out to Durban’s creative community inviting proposals for an upcoming art festival, Cascoland. Under the theme of “mobility,” the festival was to take place along a specified route with the aim of interaction with public space. As we walked the city it became apparent that the route was less about the buildings, walls and roads—the traditional infrastructure of the city—and more about the people we met along the way. We decided to focus on these people, to celebrate their lives in some small way.

With only a few short weeks to complete this project, we immersed ourselves in the community: walking the streets and talking to anyone and everyone. People with fascinating stories—that they were happy to share—inhabited the route. The key to this wealth of insight was simply a smile and a friendly “hello.”

The notion of mobility suggests something fleeting and personal; a journey is only ever a series of fragmented moments, of sights, smells and sensations. Likewise, this little book is nothing more than a subjective snapshot—a glimpse into just ten of the three-and-a-half million interwoven worlds that make up our city. Creating it has given us a greater understanding of this city we call home. We hope this experience is shared with our readers.

Bios
Roger Jardine is a photographer/graphic designer based in Durban, South Africa, where he is one of three partners in Disturbance, a graphic design studio. Disturbance has won many local and international design awards and was recently featured in ID magazine. Roger’s photographs have been exhibited in several local galleries and magazines.

Niall McNulty is a South African researcher and writer interested in the ways in which culture influences place in particular cities. He currently develops literary trails, based on writers and the places associated with them and their texts, in cities around South Africa. He is also involved in an Indigenous Knowledge project—administrate through the eThekwini Municipal Library—collecting and archiving oral stories, folk histories, cultural practices and environmental know-how relevant or related to the City of Durban.

Tamlyn Young won the prestigious Emma Smit Award in 2007. Her exhibition was an installation in which she documented her life for a year. She used multimedia to create animations of her journey as well as mapping the path through Google Earth. She is interested in the way human society organizes space and constructs systems in an attempt to bring order and meaning to existence.

Related Resources

Articles available for download
“Along the Way” book pdf

Project included in The World in My Street, New Urban Imaginaries.