Monday, January 24, 2011

The Weekly Archivist interview: Channel Africa collection

The SABC Radio Archives, which form part of the SABC Media Libraries,  has seven Archivists who specialize in specific areas/languages of expertise with regards the audio collections being kept in the Archives. There are also Archivists who focus on requests, and we have a Sound Engineer that assists us with technical issues. There will be a weekly interview that I will try to pose the same questions to each of the Archivists.

Elizabeth Mate

The first Archivist is Elizabeth Mate. She has been with us for more than a year now, and she focuses on material received from Channel Africa. She has a multiple language proficiency to enable her to catalogue the various materials that she receives for her collection.

We as Archivists find ourselves separated in silos because of the difference between our collections, and because we find ourselves concentrating on our own work in our own little studios for most of our working days. We sometimes do not know what the Archivist next to us is doing. I think it is a good thing if we try to understand what our colleagues are dealing with on a daily basis.

1. Elizabeth, please tell us a little bit about you. (Where you grew up, where and what you studied and your work experience before you joined the SABC Radio Archives)
I am a Namibian born South African. Previously, before joining the SABC I was a teacher by profession.  I joined the SABC in June 1989.  I was a freelancer for the first 5 years.  I became a permanent staff of the SABC on the 1st of April 1994.  I worked as a Presenter/Producer/Journalist for the Silozi Service of Channel Africa until the 12th of January 2009, when I joined the SABC Radio Archives.  I have been with the SABC Radio Sound Archives for two years.
2. Please tell us about a normal day in your studio. What material do you give priority to?
My normal day in the studio involves recording, editing, catalogue and quality checking and if times allow labeling also.  I get a lot of Actuality Programmes and that’s the ones I work on mostly.
3. Tell us more about your collection and the scope of material you need to preserve.
Channel Africa broadcasts in six languages, daily for 24 hours, namely English, French, Portuguese, Swahili, Chinyanja and Silozi.  In a week’s time, I get about 44 CDS from the Main Control.  In a day, it is about 8 to 9 CDS.   
4. Do you struggle with technical difficulties, and if so, what?

I do struggle with technical difficulties in my studio when it comes to things like Wavelab but, I have people who always help me with those problems, mostly it is Marius (Sound Engineer) and Bonga (Radio Production Facilities).
5. Tell us why you enjoy doing the work that you do.
I enjoy doing the work that I do because I learn new things everyday.

Questions by Karen du Toit, Afrikaans Archivist (SABC Radio Archives)

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