Google has joined the world in helping preserve the thousands of archival documents, photographs and videos about Nelson Mandela in the gallery digitally since 2011. On March 27, 2012 the online archive was finally launched in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory.
As some may already know, the first-ever, single-man focused “online gallery” has been active for the past two years in commemoration of the legend of the late Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela who died in Johannesburg on December 5 last year. Many have visited it in search of better understanding of the life of the former statesman, mentor and role model to thousands across the globe, and found it. And many continue to glean inspiration from the pages of this pioneering piece of work today.
By Phinias Shonayi
The multimedia archive includes Mr. Mandela’s correspondence with family, comrades and friends, diaries written during his 27 years of imprisonment, and notes he made while leading the negotiations that ended apartheid in South Africa. The archive also includes the earliest-known photos of Mr. Mandela and never-before seen drafts of his material for his book “Conversations with Myself,” the sequel to his autobiography “Long Walk to Freedom.”
“The project is a living archive that will continue to expand as people across the globe contribute to the project and grow the legend of Mr. Mandela.” In his launch address speech, Achmat Dangor, Chief Executive of the Nelson Mandela Foundation recalled how Mr. Mandela inaugurated the Centre of Memory in 2004 as the institution’s core work.
Mr. Mandela’s injunction was that the Centre of Memory “must not become a mausoleum,” rather that it should strive to grow beyond a memory bank attributed to one person. The Centre has also since become a platform for dialogue around critical social issues.
“At the heart of our strategy for Memory is to make the unique archives of the life and times of Mr. Mandela available to the rest of the world,” said Dangor.
Based in Johannesburg, the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory is committed to documenting one of the world’s greatest statesmen and spreading the story of his life and work to promote social justice throughout the world.
Thanks to a partnership between the Centre of Memory and the Google Cultural Institute, Nelson Mandela’s archive dating from 1929 is now accessible in digital format to anyone, anywhere in the world.
The address is archive.nelsonmandela.org.