South Africa, Project Mayibuye topics of speech at WWU

Tom Kochtanek
Tom Kochtanek

A University of Missouri professor will speak at William Woods University about South Africa and efforts to enhance access to archives documenting the country’s struggle from apartheid to democracy.

Dr. Thomas Kochtanek, associate professor of information science at MU, will make a presentation about Project Mayibuye at 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 9, in WWU’s Library Auditorium. Admission is free and open to the public.

The University of Missouri is partnering with the University of the Western Cape and the Robben Island Museum in South Africa to dramatically improve access to the Mayibuye Archives, a vast multi-media collection of photos, posters, videos, letters and documents largely accessible now only to those who visit the University of the Western Cape.

This rich collection documents the campaign both in South Africa and around the world to bring down the apartheid regime. The Mayibuye Project seeks to make that struggle come alive for generations to come by creating an interactive digital resource that includes interactive tools and lesson plans that will make this vital history accessible to millions around the world.

Kochtanek will share his experience in chronicling the history of apartheid and the lengthy struggle for

Nelson Mandela during election campaign, Cape Town, South Africa - 1994 (Photo by REX)
Nelson Mandela during election campaign, Cape Town, South Africa – 1994 (Photo by REX)

democracy and making these valuable collections accessible. In addition to speaking about the efforts to preserve the collection of Nelson Mandela’s documents and make them available to the public, he will share meaningful insights with regard to forging relationships with differing groups at a global level.

“There is much to learn from the current cross-cultural relationships and experiences, such as what Dr. Kochtanek and his team and the University of Western Cape’s team are engaged in,” said Cyndi Koonse, coordinator of multicultural affairs at WWU.

The presentation is one of a series to educate William Woods students, particularly those traveling to South Africa during spring break, about the country and its history. This year 22 students and 11 others will participate in the Woods Around the World trip, which seeks to expose them to other cultures.