Google and Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory (NMCM) made a joint announcement today at 1.30pm that they have since made the Nelson Mandela Digital Archive on the web. Google enabled this by giving $1.25m [8.6 million rand] grant to the Johannesburg-based NMCM last year in a bid to help preserve and digitize documants, photographs and videos of Nelson Mandela. The online multi-media archive includes Mandela’s correspondence with family and friends diaries detailing his 27 years imprisonment and collections of the South African apartheid negotiations.
These include the earliest known photographs of the South African hero, examples being the images of his cell in Robben Islands in the 1970s and never-seen drafts of Nelson Mandela’s Manuscripts for the sequel to his autobiography “Long Walk to Freedom.”
“It is invigorating to see our combined efforts become a reality,” said Verne Harris from the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory. “This digital initiative will make it possible for us to reach the full spectrum of our stakeholders, from the global elite to systemically disadvantaged South Africans. Visitors can search and browse the archives to explore different parts of Mr Mandela’s life and work in depth: Early Life, Prison Years, Presidential Years, Retirement, Books for Mandela, Young People, and My Moments with a Legend.”
Steve Crossan, Director of the Google Cultural Institute said: “The Mandela Digital Archive Project shows how the Interneshows how the Internet can help preserve historical heritage and make it available to the world. We’ve worked closely with the NMCM to create an interactive online experience with powerful search and browsing tools, so that users can explore Mr Mandela’s inspiring life story.”
“The Archive currently includes over 1900 unique images, documents and videos, and will grow over time,” said Luke Mckend, Country Manager for Google South Africa. “South Africans from all walks of life can now engage with important parts of our country’s history. For example, reading handwritten pages of a letter smuggled from Robben Island in 1977, or seeing Warrant documents that sent Mandela to jail first for 5 years and then for life.”