South Sudan celebrated its national archive day on Monday by hosting an exhibition of historic posters, which are presented to the public for the first time since being printed 40 years ago.
The International archives day was celebrated under the theme “safeguarding a part of South Sudan’s shared heritage.”
The day was marked to raise awareness on the importance of preserving the archival collection for the nation.
It is also meant to pay respects to those that have been actively involved in ensuring that this national treasure is passed on to future generations.
Currently, the national archives have about 8,000 files with over 3,000 boxes of which 2,855 files have been scanned with 450,000 pages with oldest documents since 1898.
In attendance were guests from the Government, UN, diplomatic missions to South Sudan, Civil society organizations, researchers, and other distinguished guests.
Speaking during the event on Monday, the former governor of the defunct Eastern Equatoria appeals to the government to recognize the work of the Directorate of the national archives.
“Let us raise the level of the Directorate of the national archives and give it a safe abode to safeguard our documents and our heritage.”
Caeser Bayeh Loyalala was the governor of Eastern Equatoria State from 1994 to 1998.
Loyalala who now represents Torit at the TNLA said there is a need for the government to build a national museum that will preserve and keep the heritage of the county.
“Let us build a strong museum and other heritages for our children and the rest of the world to know and I will appeal very much to her Excellency the minister to take care of this.”
Speaking at the same event, Dr. Idris Awol, UNESCO’s Education Specialist emphasized on the importance of archives.
“Please consider the following carefully this is the only written heritage of the country,” Dr. Awol said.
“The South Sudan national archives is a depositary of archival material spanning over one hundred years of government, the collection is implacable value to the nation of South Sudan you hear this many times.
“The archives form the primary historical documentary resource for the development of the South Sudanese national identity as a significant part of the South Sudanese peoples shared heritage the archived have an important role to play for national unity.”
One of the main objectives of the South Sudan National Archives outreach program is to bring national focus on the role archives can play in nurturing peace and reconciliation in the country.
As stated by Mr. Saidou Sireh Jallow, Head of the UNESCO Office (OIC) in Juba “As a significant part of the South Sudanese peoples’ shared heritage, the Archives have an important role to play for national unity”.
UNESCO has been leading the South Sudan National Archives project since 2012, and the project forms part of the organization’s efforts to support the development of a public culture sector in the country, which draws direct links to the nation and peacebuilding process.
The South Sudan National Archives project is generously supported by Norway and implemented by UNESCO in partnership with RVI, and in close collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports.
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