The virtual stampede for Africa: Digitisation, postcoloniality and archives of the liberation struggles in Southern Africa

11 Oct 2011

This article presents a polemical argument for a politics of digitisation that aims to politicise the archival disciplines while making sense of the conjuncture in which digitisation initiatives are mooted in Southern Africa. It argues for a blurring of the work of archivist and historian in reconstituting the archive of the liberation struggle. It alters the paradigmatic frameworks of the Cold War that have hitherto defined the structure of the archive. The article provisionally anticipates the trajectories of a politics of digitisation, while complicating our notion of information by tracking its emergence in colonialism and the restrictive paradigms of the Cold War. Calling for a constitution of the archive that undercuts both colonial precedents and Cold War paradigms, it argues for a politics of digitisation that will expand what can be said about the history of liberation struggles in Southern Africa by redefining the meaning of the postcolonial. The realignment is intended to provoke new conceptualisations of globalisation and the archive in the postcolony.