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Rift Valley Institute

Making local knowledge work

Digitising the National Archive of South Sudan

From (l) to (r): Becu Thomas Alex (GOSS), James Lujang Marino (GOSS), Tako Peter Angelo(GOSS), Toby Collins (RVI) Hannah Waddilove (BIEA), Sam Wilkins (BIEA), Douglas Johnson, Youssef Onyalla (GOSS)The government archive in Juba suffered badly during the civil war in Southern Sudan. Tens of thousands of documents were removed from the Records Office, disordered, and stored in sacks in damp basements. Many have been damaged by termites, some beyond repair. Now the contents of the archive, which range from the early twentieth century to the 1980s, are being reordered and digitised. The pilot project is funded by USAID, under the Ministry of Culture and Heritage of the Government of Southern Sudan, and implemented by the RVI and the British Institute in Eastern Africa. The contents of the archive have been moved to a large tent in Juba and are being boxed and scanned in a building next door under the direction of the Government Archivist, Youssef Onyalla, with advice from Douglas Johnson, the historian of Southern Sudan, who was Deputy Archivist in Juba in the pre-civil-war years.

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