A few years ago, during a visit to a major broadcasting organisation in East Africa, the Director-General (DG) invited me to visit their “storage room for archived content”. There, he ruminated loudly on the parlous state of the “room” and the content therein. He then turned to me and said with some emotion: “in here we have clips of important historical events which now seems to be wasting away, and might not be available for our children and their children!”
I could not but only pause and reflect on that comment’s poignancy, especially as I realised that the situation is not isolated to the one East African broadcaster but is an objective reality of most broadcasts media organisations on the Continent.
Also, Ms Ilse Assmann, a South African industry veteran and former president of the International Association of Sound and Audio-visual Archives (IASA), said to me: “Most broadcasters in Africa have no idea what the situation is with their archives, and even in places where they do know, there is a general lack of capabilities that are required to preserve these archives effectively.”
“This is the Way, Said The Mighty Jedi”
It is, therefore, the BMA’s firm view that broadcast and media organisations of all across Africa now urgently need interventionist assistance that will help create a sustainable leadership, funding and technological capacity for the preservation of there audio-visual heritage before it becomes too late.
That is why we, at the BMA, are proud of the Industry Programme on the Preservation Of Africa Audio-Visual Assets. We have launched the ground-breaking initiative in collaboration with key stakeholders and leading professionals on the Continent. We hope this will serve as an essential first step to help ensure that we in Africa will not lose our audio-visual cultural heritage forever!