The National Archives of Zimbabwe is a government department responsible for the collection, storage, regulation, management and publication of written and documented information. The place was established in 1935 in the then Salisbury, now Harare, and is administered by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage. It is located just a few kilometres east of the Harare Central Business District.
The National Archives of Zimbabwe (NAZ) was established through an Act of Parliament in 1935 now known as the National Archives Act 1986. NAZ was thus established to be the storehouse of the nation's documented history.
Since its establishment, the mission of NAZ was to "acquire, preserve and provide public access to Zimbabwean documentation in whatever format, in an efficient and economic manner. In its endeavour to provide quality service, the department has always been guided by commitment to its clients and all stakeholders. The department strives for integrity, professionalism, transparency and continuous improvement.
The NAZ has been documenting information since its establishment. The main technique which was used in its quest to preserve history was through oral interviews with various societies. Native administrators and Native Commissioners during the Rhodesia era were tasked to document tribal histories and chieftainships for easy governance. Thus all the audio recordings and written documents were deposited at the National Archives for safe keeping and future references.
The Public archives and Research Section processes and manages Public archives and Historical Manuscripts (records of historical value from individuals and private organisations). The collection includes deceased estates, family history, criminal and civil records, census records, marriage and baptism certificates, records of service of uniformed forces. The public archives and research Collections dates back to 1890 and the size of the collection is approximately 22 000 cubic feet.
The library was established primarily to supplement and facilitate the study of the Public Records. In terms of the Printed Publications Act National Archives Library is a legal depository of all printed publications in Zimbabwe. National Archives Library also acquires works on or about Zimbabwe published outside Zimbabwe. Materials on the Southern African Sub Region which relates to Zimbabwe are also found in the library.
The National Archives Library is also responsible for the production of the Zimbabwe National Bibliography (ZNB) which is a comprehensive and authoritative bibliographic record for the country’s publishing output. The ZNB is published annually. The Library also administers the International Standard Book Numbering System. The ISBN(International Standard Book Number) has the purpose of uniquely identifying a book from any other books and is a worldwide standard .
One of the important parts of the National Archives is the reprographic unit. It does both document (photocopying and scanning) and pictorial (Studio) reproductions. Researchers may place orders for the reproduction of materials of their choice. Following options are available;
Oral History Programme
The National Archives of Zimbabwe's Oral History has the prime responsibility of collecting and preserving oral interviews from a wide diversity of people whose contribution to Zimbabwean history and development has been considerable but undocumented or under-documented. From around 2003, the department embarked on a campaign of re collecting the history of the Second Chimurenga countrywide. Oral History interviews were done by the Oral Historians most from the University of Zimbabwe at the National Archives of Zimbabwe Head Office, in Harare, as well as Archivists in the National Archives of Zimbabwe's Provincial Offices in Bulawayo, Gweru, Masvingo, Mutare and Chinhoyi.
The main function of this unit is to restore documents to usable state and repair documents which would have been affected by physical, biological or chemical agents or combined effects.
The main responsibility of the Unit is to ensure that the NAZ keeps pace with the ICTs.
National Archives of Zimbabwe Audiovisual Unit (NAZ AVU) was established in 1988 and it symbolizes and expresses the cultural significance and distinct character of sound and image heritage in a Zimbabwean perspective.
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