330 hours of film records
The National Archive of Zimbabwe (NAZ) possesses a collection of film, more or less 320 hours, mainly produced by the Central African Film Unit (CAFU), which was active from 1948 – 1963. CAFU’s objective was to create educational and propaganda films to show colonial realities to indigenous and international public under a positive light. NAZ aims to keep this audiovisual heritage save and make it accessible for a regional, national and international public, mainly scholarship and researchers. The full archive comprises about 2700 films in a diversity of formats, in a rather good state, but in strong danger of degradation.
The goal of this project, submitted to FIAT/IFTA in October 2013, was to digitize the collection and make it accessible to the public. No less than seven partners were involved in the project, and this was essential for its success:
The film scanner and all additional equipment was delivered and furnished by the end of 2017. Actually about 250 hours of the Central African Film Unit collection is digitized. The digitization of the whole content will be completed in 2021. But the impact of the project went further than just the digitization of the films. NAZ has become a regional centre of competence with strong expertise in digitizing in film. They have signed collaboration plans with the Zimbabwan public television (ZBC) and institutional cultural and educational stakeholders in Zimbabwe and neighbouring countries keeping audiovisual heritage. NAZ is also in contact with African Union for future exchanges on this project.