Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The new archivist interview: Sound Restoration

Obakeng Phiri
Archivist: Sound Restoration
SABC Radio Archives


Obakeng Phiri is a new archivist tasked with sound restoration in the SABC Radio Archives.
He has been an intern with us for a couple of months, and he started to work here on the 1st of August 2012.

The previous interview with Obakeng was about his internship at the SABC Radio Archives.

His duties are different now than before when he was an intern here.

Obakeng, please tell us about a normal day in your studio.

I am self motivated because I am very passionate about being an audio restoration archivist. 
Every snippet of audio content I work with contains interesting information. It adds to my anticipation of looking forward doing my job each day!

My job involves the separation of sound from the format it was recorded on. It also involves the “cleaning” of sound, getting rid of clicks, pops, scratches and hiss that often plague the original recordings. 
In some instances, the desired sound is so close in character to the noise, that the noise cannot be cleaned so as not to sacrifice parts of the sound that we want to keep. 

The workflow is not complicated, but it must be performed carefully to achieve the best results. 

Every experience in the studio is a learning curve. I learn different subjects from history, politics as well as listening to radio dramas. 
Depending on the mood I am in, every hour is spent on a different subject.  

Tell us more about your collection and the scope of material you need to preserve.

I work with most of SABC’s radio broadcast material, which includes radio dramas, radio features, actuality and many more. One example is a feature programme on Bertha Solomon, pioneer of women’s rights in South Africa.

Do you have an anecdote about an interesting piece of audio material that you have encountered?

The following is in our collection: ‘’I am an African’’ speech by Thabo Mbeki.
It introduces his vision on the African Renaissance, which is about empowering Africa economically and socially.

Why did you want to work here again after you have completed your internship here?

When I first came here for the first time as an intern, I already knew that I wanted to work at the SABC Radio Archives. It felt like I was home! Due to my passion for the job, I was given the chance to prove myself. It paid off in the end!
I am very grateful for it, praise God!

Related posts:

- Interview with an intern at the SABC Radio Archives: Obakeng Phiri

- The value of internship in the SABC Radio Archives


Questions and blog post by Karen du Toit, Afrikaans Archivist in the SABC Radio Archives.

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