Book on African estate records launched

08 Feb 2018 15:00pm
WINDHOEK, 08 FEB (NAMPA) – National archives should capture the full extent of the different facets of Namibia’s history, former President Hifikepunye Pohamba has said.
Pohamba was speaking at the launch of a book titled ‘Little research value - African Estate Records and Colonial Gaps in a Post-Colonial National Archive’ written by Dr Ellen Namhila here on Wednesday.
“Archives should be effectively preserved in order for future generations to learn about this full history with pride,” he said.
He added that archives make it possible for people to learn about the past.
“For a young country such as ours, record keeping is paramount,” he said.
The book asks why the National Archives of Namibia finds it easier to respond to genealogical enquiries by white Namibians than to that of black Namibians.
Speaking at the launch Namhila said she was not satisfied with the statement that it is because of colonialism and apartheid that it is difficult to find the estate records of black Namibians because these were either destroyed or not saved in the first place, hence the research.
“After many cases I worked on, nothing could be found in the National Archives, despite frantic searches by the staff, while the same type of searches for records of white people were easily retrieved,” she said.
Her research eventually led to her discovering over 11 000 forgotten surviving African estate records.
Namhila said it is high time that Namibians preserve records and respect national archives.
“There is this notion that archives are boring, but I want to tell you that discovering important documents is liking finding treasure on an island,” she said.
Namhila is the Pro-Vice Chancellor for Administration, Finance and Resource Mobilisation at the University of Namibia.