Fragile Rivonia Trial recordings to be digitised
The 284 dictabelts include Nelson Mandela’s famous speech from the dock.
PRETORIA - Part of what the Acting Director-General of the Department of Arts and Culture Vuyo Jack calls the National Archives' most precious assets are heading for Paris tonight.
Tonight South African officials are taking 284 Rivonia Trial dictabelts, that were identified as the first batch, to be digitised in France by specialists and are expected to be back in South Africa in 2016.
The dictabelts are fragile and can no longer be accessed, but once digitised, the material which includes Nelson Mandela's famous speech from the dock will be made easily available for historians, film makers and researchers worldwide.
French Ambassador Elisabeth Barbier calls it a "highlight of bilateral cultural cooperation."
France is also picking up the tab for the R3,2 million operation which will eventually include 10,000 dictabelts recorded for four years from 1960.
Jack says they'll be guarding them with their lives.