Nelson Mandela Foundation

An internship can be defined as a platform for enhancing the skills of an individual who does not have practical experience in a specific field of work. It is a great opportunity to be part of the Nelson Mandela Foundation as an archives intern as I only had the theory of the archive world. 

It was back in 2017 when I was studying my higher certificate in archives and records management that I developed a strong passion to understand about the archiving of various documents or artefacts.

Since joining the team, I have been on an amazing learning curve and have hopefully been a benefit to the team. I am currently working with the condolences collection of Nelson Mandela. What I do is to capture metadata from all the condolence books, letters, emails and cards. For instance, each record (book, letter, card) has its origin place which has to be captured on its entry, along with other data fields such as the specific languages that are used and the originator's name. This metadata is entered onto the Foundation's archive portal using AtoM (Access to Memory) and will be accessible to researchers once I am done, and the entries get published.

I am also updating or editing the authority records entries on AtoM of places and organisations. I standardise how each name is to be used, and do some research and write up a brief history or biography on each one. Through this work I am learning about the many people and organisations who interacted with Tata Madiba over the years.

And more recently it was great to work on the Winnie Madikizela-Mandela archive listing, packing the archival documents and artefacts. It was an honour working through her archive, and made me realise what a strong and resilient woman she was. A woman who contributed to our freedom.

Prior to lockdown I assisted with digitising audio tapes – converting analogue to digital. I learnt to use the software and how to manage getting quality digital audio recordings. This has enhanced my skills and I look forward to utilising this knowledge in my career.

Furthermore, I participated in various Mandela Day activities that reach out to help society. One of the events I recall was when the Foundation, in partnership with Engen and the Imbumba Foundation, were handing over toilets to Madima Primary School in the Moses Kotane Municipality (Rustenburg, North West). 

Doing my internship at the Nelson Mandela Foundation has exposed me to Mr Nelson Mandela’s legacy of fighting for equality, and his focus on educational opportunities for the youth. What inspires me most about Madiba is his bravery to fight and be a voice for the voiceless to have equal rights. This motivates me to continue assisting the Foundation's efforts to preserve his legacy so that we can understand our history or background. To me it is  all about helping others with whatever you have whether small or big, it can bring change and freedom to another person.

In conclusion one can sum up this archives intern journey as a platinum experience, allowing me to work and learn through practical work in the various fields of the archives world. Also, along the journey, I have attended workshops that were really informative on how the digital era is evolving and influencing the archives field.