The National Archives and Records Service of SA (Narssa) has launched a programme aimed at raising public awareness of its role.
The annual National Archives and Heraldry Awareness Week, which started on Monday and will run until Friday, is aimed at promoting the use of archives in instilling in the public an understanding of the function and services offered by the Narssa.
The programme is also aimed at popularising national symbols, and educating the public on their meanings and general etiquette.
All this is aimed at instilling a sense of patriotism in individuals in a bid to establish “friends of the archives” as a tool to take archives to the people.
According to the Narssa, most potential users of the archives are unaware of the existence of archival institutions and a huge chunk of the population still doesn’t understand their relevance.
“Our young people, one of our target groups, will grow in their understanding and embracing of historical heritage, especially in respect of archival heritage,” the Narssa said. The target audience includes grades 8 and 12 pupils, university students and genealogical researchers.
Others targeted are private researchers and potential users, records managers, private companies and government bodies, educational providers and officials of the Department of Arts and Culture.
This week’s activities will include daily tours of the archives (between 9am and 3.30pm at Hamilton Street, Arcadia), National Film Video and Sound Archives free film screening at the National Library (between 1pm and 3pm) and a presentation by the Genealogical Society of South Africa on how to conduct family research (9am to 3.30pm).
There will also be exhibitions by various institutions including the University of Pretoria, Unisa and Freedom Park.
National Archives will also have a display of the Rivonia Trial Exhibition, coupled with some promotional information packs for the public.