Last week, we summarized South African archivist Verne Harris’s notion of the “archival sliver”, the belief that archives are only capable of capturing “a sliver of a sliver of a sliver” of the past (65). Harris developed his argument with reference to the apartheid regime in South Africa, citing instances in which government institutions expunged marginalized social and ethnic groups from the archival record. For a more detailed introduction to Harris’s argument, please refer to On the ‘Archival Sliver’ and Audio-Visual Africa, Part 1.
It is unrealistic to expect that the Audio-Visual Africa project will create archives encapsulating more than a sliver of African history and culture. The project rests on the assumption, however, that the sliver we archive will, in Harris’s words, “giv[e] voice to the voiceless” on a number of different levels (74).