Google immortalises Madiba and Tutu in digital archives

Google has announced a US$1.25-million grant to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, housed at the Nelson Mandela Foundation, that will help to preserve and give unprecedented digital access to thousands of archival documents, photographs, and audio-visual materials about the life and times of Nelson Mandela.

Based in Johannesburg, the Nelson Mandela Foundation Centre of Memory is committed to documenting records about the life of one of the world’s greatest statesmen. Its objective is to use his legacy to foster meaningful dialogue and debate to promote social justice.

Google’s grant will assist in expanding the online Mandela archive and make it available to global audiences, scholars and researchers in the future. In addition to significant audio-visual materials, the online multimedia archive will include Mandela’s letters and correspondence with family, comrades and friends; prison diaries; and notes he made while leading the negotiations that led to the end of apartheid in South Africa.

“We are delighted that Google has come on board to help ensure that our Mandela Portal becomes a world class source of accurate and reliable information about Madiba,” said Verne Harris, head of the Centre of Memory.

A grant of the same size has also been made to the Desmond Tutu Peace Centre in Cape Town, for the documentation and digitisation of Desmond Tutu’s archives, and an interactive digital learning centre.

Commenting on the initiatives, Luke Mckend, Country Manager for Google South Africa said, “Google wants to help bring the world’s historical heritage online, and the internet offers new ways to preserve and share this information. Our grants to the Nelson Mandela Centre and to the Desmond Tutu Peace Centre will facilitate new digital archives for South Africa’s past, giving the global public an unprecedented opportunity to engage with the history of some of the most extraordinary leaders of our time.

We are also delighted to be announcing additional grants which will help many more people across South Africa and Africa access the internet and benefit from access to information”.

Google also announced three other grants of between US$500 000 and US$1 250 000, also made through the Google Inc. Charitable Giving Fund of Tides Foundation, to the Tertiary Education and Research Network of South Africa (TENET)(US$750,000 for continued work to assist South African universities with internet and information technology services), the Nigeria ICT Forum (US$500,000 to support efforts in improving access to internet infrastructure in tertiary education institutions in Nigeria), and the Network Startup Resource Center (NSRC) at the University of Oregon (US$1 250 000 to enable more people in numerous African countries to participate in and contribute to the global internet).



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