Speaking of the past

Speaking of the past

Issued: Mon, 23 Jul 2007 09:28:00 BST

Manager of the Centre for Memory at the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Verne Harris, will give a public talk on the issues arising from a ‘Mandela archive’ on 24 July at the University of Glasgow.

As part of a conference on oral history being held at the University, Verne Harris, in his lecture titled ‘Telling the Stories of a Continuing Walk to Freedom: Nelson Mandela and the Archive’, will answer questions such as: what is ‘the Mandela archive’? How should this archive be assembled? What purpose does it serve? To whom does it belong? And who has the authority to answer such questions?

Harris will draw on the guidance offered by Nelson Mandela himself on these questions and will highlight the importance of archival material, oral and otherwise, in understanding and celebrating the struggles and achievements of Nelson Mandela’s fight for freedom.

Harris said: “Mr Mandela has insisted that our memory work must be shaped by the call of justice.”

Harris has participated in a range of structures which transformed South Africa’s apartheid public records system – amongst others, the African National Congress’s Archives Committee, the Arts and Culture Task Group, the Consultative Forum which drafted the National Archives of South Africa Act, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the South African History Archive.

The lecture will take place at 4pm in the Sir Charles Wilson Building at the University of Glasgow and is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.


Notes for editors
For more information or to attend the lecture please contact Kate Richardson in the University of Glasgow’s Media Relations Office on 0141 330 3683 or email K.Richardson@admin.gla.ac.uk

About Verne Harris
Verne Harris is Project Manager for the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory at the Nelson Mandela Foundation and an honorary research associate at the University of the Witwatersrand.  He participated in a range of structures which transformed South Africa’s apartheid public records system – amongst others, the African National Congress’s Archives Committee, the Arts and Culture Task Group, the Consultative Forum which drafted the National Archives of South Africa Act, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the South African History Archive.  Widely published, he is best known for the books Exploring Archives: An Introduction to Archival Ideas and Practice in South Africa (1997, 2000 and 2004), Refiguring the Archive (2002), A Prisoner in the Garden: Opening Nelson Mandela’s Prison Archive (2005), and Archives and Justice (2007).  He is also the author of two novels, both of which were short-listed for South Africa’s M-Net Book Prize.

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