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Preservation of music heritage important

Stolen Moments: Founding Members: Baby Doeseb and Aino Moongo, Mr. Ullrich Kinne (German Embassy) and Dirk Kuntze

In a bid to preserve Namibia’s popular music heritage and the documentation of cultural heritage at risk, the German Embassy has managed to support the project financially with an amount of almost N$700,000. The German Embassy supports NBC’s digitalization of endangered music recordings and in November 2013, Aino Moongo and Baby Doeseb, founding members of the Stolen Moments, Namibian Music History Untold – Research Group, embarked on a finding mission to Europe in order to explore the story-telling potentials of the musical riches they have researched since 2010. Funded by the TURN Fund of the “German Bundeskulturstiftung”, Aino and Baby met up with great many cultural players.

One of them, being the Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany who informed them about their Cultural Preservation Fund and encouraged them to apply for it, especially since one of Stolen Moments findings was that Namibian popular music recordings are entirely un-researched and no central research collection or database of this music exists.  Ullrich Kinne, Deputy Head of Mission of the German Embassy, emphasized: “Since 1981, Germany has been supporting the preservation of cultural heritage across the globe as part of the Cultural Preservation Programme of the Federal Foreign Office. The objective is to strengthen people’s sense of their own national identity and to build up a cultural dialogue in a spirit of partnership. In Namibia, we have already supported several cultural preservation projects with an amount of more than N$13 million.” As many recordings were made before Namibia’s independence in 1990, they are difficult to trace and are in danger of disappearing altogether. This period is of high interest because of the particular difficulties of black popular music under apartheid. The condition of many recordings; be it on vinyl, sound reel or compact cassette is critical. The preservation of these audio objects is of great urgency as it represents Namibia’s popular music culture. A loss of this data would be a loss of cultural identity. This initiative aims at the preservation of Namibia’s popular music heritage and the documentation of cultural heritage at risk. A substantial part of the initiative contains support, training, the provision of technical equipment for the digitalization and the transfer of the data into a music archive database that can be shared by NBC and the National Archive of Namibia. The project will be completed within one calendar year. Aldred Dreyer, Chief Technology Operations of NBC: “The project is of great importance to the country and to the NBC and contributes to the preservation of Namibia’s rich culture and heritage.” The project will be implemented by Namibian Broadcasting Corporation in cooperation with the Stolen Moments Research Group and the National Archive of Namibia.

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