The creation of a digitised history of all South Africa’s military veterans will also provide a number of former soldiers with new skills.
This is at the heart of an initiative, led by the Department of Military Veterans (DMV) and Minister Yunus Carrim’s Department of Communications, launched to coincide with 20 years of democracy.
“Digitising our Military Heritage” will see veterans, no matter what their previous affiliation was, all contribute their memories via mobile phones, tablets or personal computers through the Internet into a library of military and socio-historic information.
Launching the initiative at the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria, Carrim said it would promote the stories veterans had to tell for all South Africans to learn from. At the same time it would provide capacity and skills in the information and communication technology sphere with the ultimate aim of packaging the content in such a way as to make it suitable for commercialisation.
As far as skills provision is concerned, 30 military veterans have to date received media training enabling them to work with data provided by veterans telling their own stories. This, the Communications Minister said, was an indication the initiative was taking to heart the principle of “nothing for military veterans without them”.
The digitisation project will also assist in providing information on veterans that can be used in the production of documentaries of the life and history of individuals, groups and organisations involved in the struggle.
To date more than 1 000 names have been uploaded onto the new database and some 200 video interviews conducted.