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Lesotho celebrates International Archives Day

by Lesotho Times
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Nthatuoa Koeshe

THE Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture held the country’s first International Archives Day commemorations with the launch of an art gallery booth at the State Library on Monday.

An exhibition of some of the old archives was also held on the day.

Although the first International Archives Day was celebrated in 1948, Lesotho had not celebrated it until this year.

The ceremony included a tour of the library to observe some of the old archives which hold Lesotho’s heritage and the inspection of the art gallery booth.

In 2004 at the International Congress in Vienna, the United Nations created an International Archives Day to raise awareness of the general public and the decision-makers about the importance of archives

The UNESCO General Conference at its 33rd session in Paris 2005 proclaimed the 27th October as the World Day for Audio visual Heritage. The day is an appropriate opportunity to raise public awareness of the importance of audio visual archives.

It brings new incentives for the benefit of the preservation of these archives. This was an excellent initiative, but these are not the only archives that are at risk and in need of attention.

The International Council on Archives was created under the auspices of the UNESCO. This choice was adopted by the International Council of Archivers Executive Board and adopted by the archives community as a whole.

This year’s International Archives Day was celebrated under the theme Archives: Governance, Memory and Heritage for archivists and records managers to create awareness on the role of archives.

Speaking at the ceremony, tourism minister Motloi Maliehe said the international archivers said through the day Basotho would be able to raise awareness among the public of the importance of records and archives. This, he said, would help create an understanding that records and archives provide the foundation for their rights and identity.

“We want to raise the awareness of senior decision makers on the benefits of records management for good governance and development,” Maliehe said.

“We also want to raise the public, private and public sectors’ awareness on the necessity of preserving archives for the long-term, and of providing access to them.”

He said the day would help Basotho to promote their unique documents preserved in archival institutions and to improve the image of records and archives while enhancing their visibility globally.

“These monuments are part of the world heritage and that is why the government saw it fit to build a museum as a way to collect and house them in one place where people can go to lean about their heritage,” he said.

He said the booth was a temporary art gallery where people will go to share their sentiments on how they wish the museum to look like and share stories. He said they can also take pictures which they can share on social media platforms to engage young people on the country’s heritage.

Director in the department of culture, Matsosane Molibeli, pleaded with the public who may have pieces worth displaying to approach the museum where others can see and learn about them.

“We intend to visit different districts with this booth so as to reach people in both the high and lowlands so that they can contribute to this collection of heritage monuments,” Molibeli said.

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