Preserving Malawi's film archives

April 2017 - present

Malawi

This project supported training local technicians to digitise the nation's film archives.

Preserving Malawi's film archives

April 2017 - present

Malawi

This project aims to preserve the heritage of Malawi that is contained in the reel-to-reel film collection currently held at the National Records and Archives Services (previously known as National Archives of Malawi), dating from the 1950s and onwards. The collection contains films of traditional dances, documentaries about the first President of Malawi, Dr H. Kamuzu Banda, footage of the Malawi Young Pioneers who were assassins trained during the one-party rule, of the Queen Mother’s visits to Malawi and other countries and the visits of presidents like Jomo Kenyatta to Malawi. Most of the footage contained in these archives cannot be found anywhere else in the world, making them priceless.

In 2017 Rei Foundation entered into a collaboration with the National Records and Archives Services and Tokyo Koon, a Japanese company that specialises in digitisation and film restoration, to enable professional preservation of this important aspect of Malawi's cultural heritage.

Malawian archivists gained valuable training in audio visual preservation and digitisation techniques, and a sustainable environment to store the preserved films was created.

Audiovisual archives are repositories for a huge amount of vital social and cultural heritage. Archives can help us to better understand societies and cultures and offer an accurate documentary record of events and human actions. These records can also act as a catalyst for fostering community based on shared history, and can support future creative projects. Once the preservation of these materials at the National Records and Archives Services is complete, it is envisaged that ways will be found to share this important heritage with the people of Malawi and others around the world.

Slider Image The National Archives of Malawi headquarters in Zomba.

The National Archives of Malawi headquarters in Zomba.

Slider Image Shelves of film reels awaiting digitisation and cataloguing.

Shelves of film reels awaiting digitisation and cataloguing.

Slider Image Bright Joshua, principal regional archivist, handles reels of film.

Bright Joshua, principal regional archivist, handles reels of film.

Slider Image Tokyo Koon's technical consultant Nobukazu Suzuki working with Robert Mkuwira on cleaning, repairing and digitising reel-to-reel film.

Tokyo Koon's technical consultant Nobukazu Suzuki working with Robert Mkuwira on cleaning, repairing and digitising reel-to-reel film.

Slider Image Archivist and librarian Robert Mkuwira sets up a projector to digitise a film reel.

Archivist and librarian Robert Mkuwira sets up a projector to digitise a film reel.

Slider Image Principal archivist Innocent Mankhwala with Nobukazu Suzuki from Tokyo Koon.

Principal archivist Innocent Mankhwala with Nobukazu Suzuki from Tokyo Koon.

Slider Image A flight attendant, featured in early footage of a presidential visit.

A flight attendant, featured in early footage of a presidential visit.

Slider Image Footage of local soldiers.

Footage of local soldiers.

Return to Projects