Die Afrikaanse filmgeskiedenis binne 'n groter Suid-Afrikaanse konteks in heroënskou: eksklusiwiteit in die weg na inklusiwiteit
This article investigates the archiving of the Afrikaans film within the larger South African context. Against the background of a long-standing problematic South African socio-political history, the obstacles and challenges in the industry are discussed. The ultimate purpose of this article is an exposition of the issues surrounding the conservation of the entire Afrikaans film heritage, in an effort to reflect on the possibility of a comprehensive and accessible film archive in view of future research possibilities. Considering all that has been said, this article asserts that the Afrikaans film history is currently in jeopardy because of the ongoing neglect of an updated and interactive archiving system. As a point of departure, reference is made to core aspects of conservation as essential elements of collective cultural heritage. A historical overview of the Afrikaans film industry within the specific realm of Afrikaner nationalism, is given. This review aims to serve as a basis for the critical evaluation of the current position of the Afrikaans film industry within the larger South African context. From this article, important conclusions can be made about the particular influences of political considerations within certain periods in a country’s history, economic considerations, as well as social sentiments of the community or government at a given time. In light of this situation, it is worrying that there is no physical laboratory in South Africa where a full collection of the Afrikaans film heritage is housed. The gaps identified here do not just affect the archiving of the Afrikaans film, but to a large extent also the research possibilities in the relevant field.
Given today’s archiving practices, the apparent peripheral factors mentioned play a decisive role. It largely influences the way in which archiving is approached. Subsequently, it also has implications for the available funding for archiving purposes. The prestige and intrinsic value attached to the industry has a further significant influence on archiving practices; the more social prestige, the more readily material is archived. The more historical value is attached to the material, the more suitable it becomes for archiving. As far as the Afrikaans film industry is concerned, the problem is precisely its exclusivity in this regard. The cultural and historical baggage lies heavily on the accessibility of the industry, which sometimes leads to selective archiving. Against the background of the foregoing the historical background of the Afrikaans film industry, demonstrates the complexities with reference to the socio- political aspects of South African history.