On Thursday 3 August, the full eighteen member Dutch Embassy national and international staff team in South Sudan visited the National Archives as part of their annual team outing.
The Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports staff presented a summary of the development of the National Archives, its current situation and the ongoing work taking place with the support of the Government of Norway, and UNESCO and the Rift Valley Institute (RVI). They then gave a short tour of the archives building.
Staff from the Dutch Embassy were interested to learn about the presence of documents across a variety of fields of interest including rule of law and traditional authorities, health and sanitation, and agriculture and livestock. For the visit the national archives staff had prepared and displayed a selection of documents under each theme, which reflected points of particular historical and cultural interest – for example the Chiefs register and historic court books, health records of sleeping sickness and female circumcision, and notes of agricultural and water pumping schemes. The Dutch team were also pleased to find a historic newspaper article that referred to a donation of sacks of dura by the Dutch government during the 1970s.
In his closing words of thanks at the end of the visit the Dutch Ambassador, Geert Geut, thanked the archives staff for their warm welcome to the site in Munuki. He emphasised the importance of having a National Archives, and the role that the archives can play in learning from the past to contribute to a peaceful future for South Sudan.
The South Sudan National Archives provide a wealth of information on many aspects of South Sudan’s history. The staff, together with RVI and UNESCO, are seeking to further develop their outreach programme to increase awareness on the content, and importance of, the National Archives.