Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Weekly Archivist interview: News/Actuality and Sport Request Archivist

Bernard Monyai
News, Actuality & Sport Archivist
The SABC Radio Archives has Archivists who focus on requests. This is part of a series of weekly interviews where they will all answer the same questions addressed to each of them.
It is a way of getting a better understanding of what an Archivist do, as well as getting a better insight into the scope of our collections in the SABC Media Libraries.

The Archivist answering the questions this week is Bernard Monyai. He is the News, Actuality and Sport Request Archivist. He works very close with the news and actuality journalists of radio and television at the SABC.

Bernard, please tell us a little bit about yourself. (Where you grew up, where and what you studied and your work experience before you joined the SABC Radio Archives)
I grew up in Ga-Matlala-a-Thaba between Mokopane and Polokwane districts of Limpopo and studied BA degree specializing in Politics, Information Science and English at the University of the same province. I also obtained an Honours degree in Information Science at Rand Afrikaans University (now called UJ). I had previously worked at the bank before joining SABC Radio Archives.

Please tell us about a normal day in your studio. What type of requests do you receive?

The first thing I do in the morning is to check my voice and e-mail messages for any new requests for previously broadcasted radio footage on politics and sports.
Tell us more about the collection you focus on and the scope of material you need to preserve.

News/actuality, current affairs and sports programmes are my specialty. I’m currently digitizing raw archival footage previously preserved on cassettes for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, containing more than a thousand minutes of audio.

Do you struggle with technical difficulties, and if so, what?
Yes, it depends on the nature of the difficulty such as playback or recording equipment, internet, Dalet, Microsoft packages, technical PC, etc. Fortunately we do have our own Sound Engineer (Marius) and the BIT.
If you have an anecdote about a specific piece of interesting audio material, please share it with us.
Former Malawian President, Hastings Banda on his arrival at London airport responded interestingly to questions from a certain journalist. His answers were like: “I’m not gonna answer that question”; “I’m not gonna tell you”, “Don’t ask me that question”, and so on.
Tell us why you enjoy doing the work that you do.

I like being aware and knowledgeable about South African audio history in particular and the world in general. But the best part for me is providing access to archival material to all kinds of people from all sorts of persuasions and professions. The SABC Radio Archives collection is quite educational and intuitive and I guess it’s also entertaining. We preserve current affairs programmes daily and that means we are almost always up-to-date.

Question and blog post by Karen du Toit, Afrikaans Archivist at the SABC Radio Archives.   


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