UN to preserve Rivonia records

22 June 2007

South Africa’s famous Rivonia Trial records, along with 38 other items of documentary heritage from around the world, have been added to the United Nations Memory of the World register in order to preserve them for future generations.

“We approved the latest inscriptions, after they were recommended by the international advisory committee of the Memory of the World Programme during a meeting last week in Pretoria, South Africa,” said United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Director-General Koichiro Matsuura this Tuesday.

The 38 items of documentary heritage of exceptional value brings the number of inscriptions since 1997 to 158. It helps networks of experts to exchange information and raise resources for preservation of, and access to, documentary material.

“The programme was launched in 1992 to preserve and promote documentary heritage of global significance, much of which is endangered,” he said.

According to Matsuura other relatively new additions this year includes the story of Australia’s notorious Kelly Gang, an Australian film from 1906, the archives of the Red Cross from 1914 to 1923, the family archives of Swedish industrialist and philanthropist Alfred Nobel and the personal archives of Swedish film director Ingmar Bergman.

Older documentary heritage to be added to the register includes France’s Bayeux Tapestry, an embroidery depicting life in the 11th century; the Hereford Mappa Mundi, the only complete example of a large medieval world map; Korean printing woodblocks of Buddhist texts dating from the 13th century; and 30 manuscripts of the Rigveda, ancient texts from India that are more than 3 000 years old.

Matsuura further announced that the UNESCO/Jikji Prize, an award of US$30,000, has been given to Austria’s Phonogrammarchiv (sound archive), in recognition of its contribution to the advancement of audio and video preservation.

Established in 1899, the sound archive is the oldest in the world and now houses more than 50 000 recordings.

Source: BuaNews