The Vision

The vision of the Digitise Africa Trust is to enable the digital preservation of, access to, and curation of primary source materials for enabling Africans to tell Africa’s story. Such primary source material includes both cultural and natural history collections that have significance to the African story.

Many significant collections of cultural and natural history are under threat on the African continent whether from war, pests, looting, lack of resources for their preservation or otherwise. In addition, significant African collections reside in institutions in other parts of the World, particularly as a result of the colonial project, and thus are not readily available to Africans who want to tell Africa’s story.

The Objectives

The objectives of the Digitise Africa Trust, therefore, are to:

1. Make significant African cultural and natural heritage collections available in digital form to an African and international audience primarily, although not exclusively, for educational and academic purposes for the betterment of African communities and societies. Toward this end the Digitise Africa Trust is set up to:
  • raise funds to achieve this objective; and
  • pursue a range of activities and funding models that enable the sustaining of African digital collections toward the goal of enabling open access for educational, academic and research purposes and to further African enterprise.
2. Identify significant cultural and natural heritage collections that are either:
  • under threat and need intervention to preserve them; or
  • they are not accessible and need intervention to make them accessible; or
  • that are scattered in Africa and outside Africa and need intervention to gather them digitally, making a more complete story accessible.
3. Commission work that enables:
  • the digital capture, processing and cataloguing of such collections;
  • the digital repatriation of African collections housed outside of Africa;
  • the digital preservation of the said digitised or born digital collections;
  • the enabling of access to the said digital collections;
  • the digital curation of the said digital collections; and
  • the promotion of the resultant digital collections and resources within Africa for open access use in educational and academic pursuits and in support of African enterprise.

The Beneficiaries

The beneficiaries of the Digitise Africa Trust will be the custodians of African collections where the collections in their keeping are deemed by the Digitise Africa Trust to be worthy of digital preservation and enabling access to an African audience. Such beneficiaries may be individuals, organisations, institutions, not-for-profit organisations and may even include for-profit organisations provided that the collections in their keeping are available for digital preservation and for open access for education, research and academic purposes.

The primary way in which beneficiaries will benefit from the Digitise Africa Trust is the funding of:

1. the digitisation of analogue collections and digital processing of born-digital collections,

2. the cataloguing of the resultant digital collections and

3. digital preservation, access and promotion of the resultant digital collections.