The importance of maintaining national archives and libraries

History is an act written by people and subsequently interpreted by people. The nexus between the creation of history and its interpretation in the modern context is the necessity to understand how a particular society arrived where it is and what informed its conditions and how to best move forward in that society. The best way to translate the above is through having national archives and libraries which capture the principles which informed history.

One of the most fundamental aspects of any society is the documentation of its history. The narrative of history becomes very important in unpacking and sharpening present contradictions and as well as drawing lessons from the past in order not to repeat aristocracies of the past. The importance is also underpinned by the significance of identity of persons.

Transferring knowledge from one generation to the other requires intense documentation of events. The best way to ensure that knowledge becomes transferrable is when it is properly recorded and placed safe. The transfer of knowledge epitomises the importance of maintaining national archives and libraries.

National archives and libraries best articulate the narratives however, the problem arises when the narratives are coined in a bias manner or in a context which creates prejudice for another group in society. This is usually the case in many African states. The most problematic aspect of preservation of history is the symbolism which comes with it. The #RhodesMustFall movement in South Africa dissected this in more detail.

The preservation of colonial monuments as a form of archiving history is problematic. The history which comes with such archives represents oppression and the dehumanisation of black people. Would such archives be necessary to keep? And if they are kept what purpose do they serve? This would be answered in many ways from one country to the other. This however, does not translate into the maintaining of national archives as less important. The fountain of knowledge, that is the national archives and libraries should be maintained in order to pass down the knowledge from one  generation to the other.