SABC Radio Archivist: News and Actuality
The SABC Radio Archives forms part of the SABC Media Libraries at the SABC.
The Archivist answering the questions this week is Markus Moroke Mmutlana.
He has been with the SABC Radio Archives for 12 years, and before that he was working in the regions. Seven years of his service in the Sound Archives was spent in the Northwest region in Mafikeng.
Markus continues with his story:
In the Northwest Region I had to resuscitate the Motsweding Fm Sound Archives that had been dismantled when the Pretoria Broadcast centre closed down. I fortunately was one of the main clients of the Radio Archives there and knew what was expected of me to do. Therefore unpacking all the programs that were sent over there and arranging them in their former order was not much of a problem as I had been a regular client of the Radio Archives while in Pretoria. Yes, I needed help sometimes and Peter Raseroka had to come from Johannesburg Archives to give me that.
I believe it is also important to share this with you, that I came into the Radio Archives having a broad knowledge of how programs were made since I had been with Radio Operations for years. There I‘ve been a technical man for Sport broadcast; Current Affairs; Outside Broadcast and inside Studio Programs Recordings; Open Air Musical productions such as Setswana traditional music done in Botswana; and ended up as a specialist Drama Technical producer. I gathered much knowledge of equipments used in those fields. May be let me also add that there are some dramas I wrote that I have had to archive. You’ll realize that these must have taken place over some years, but to me it seems like yesterday.
Markus, please give us a little bit of biographical information. (Where you grew up, where and what you studied and your work experience before you joined the SABC Radio Archives)
I was born in Lady Selborne in Pretoria, raised up in Skilpadfontein, Marapyane near Settlers. I an ex Mamelodian (Mamelodi High School Student) and also a Bexo (Bethel Training College ex-student). I studied as a teacher and never taught, but matriculated through private studies. Before joining the SABC, please don’t ask me when, I worked as a dispatch clerk for a company that was known as Pretoria Wholesale Druggist. Where that company was is now the Two Way Skinner Street.
Please tell us about a normal day in your studio. What material do you give priority to?
As I am a news and actuality Archivist for RSG and SAFM I must always know what is brewing in the government and various political fields and parties to be abreast with some fresh stories that one can quickly digitize on CD and also catalogue and avoid pushing too much material into backlog. Other than that my priority now is to deal with the 1996 Truth and Reconciliation Reports on Radio Sonder Grense, the Afrikaans SABC Radio Station. This is part of the backlog we have – I have now completed cataloguing the SAFM 1996 TRC reports.
Tell us more about your collection and the scope of material you need to preserve.
My backlog includes news and actuality programs dating as far back as 1994 to date. These sometimes include tributes and other informative programs or features annual lectures of some of our country’s heroes.
Do you struggle with technical difficulties, and if so, what?
I have long been in this technical field of audio productions and if there be some difficulties that I pick up is the ever changing technology that forces one to consult with those who have the expertise every time. For example the problem I picked up with batch conversions of sound on Dalet using a memory stick, then to Wavelab. This would give me a problem when I burning a CD by refusing to burn indicating that the sound have not been converted to the correct Hertz. And the other challenge was to use Powerpoint which I do not regularly use.
If you have an anecdote about a specific piece of interesting audio material, please share it with us.
My most interesting story was when I picked up a news item, as I was going through some Current Affairs tapes, where former president Nelson Mandela told the news reporter how he was arrested by the police man, Forster on his way from Durban to Johannesburg. On being asked what his name was, he said he was David Motsamai. He tells the story with such humor.
Tell us why you enjoy doing the work that you do.
I am convinced that I am busy with preservation of important information about our selves and our country which would be needed by our children’s children and interested groups for research in the future.
Questions and blog post by Karen du Toit, Afrikaans Archivist in the SABC Radio Archives