mirage

Contree: 1987 No 22

Boloka/Manakin Repository

Contree: 1987 No 22

 

Contents

No. 22, July 1987

Articles


Book reviews

Editorial

The historian wishing to do significant and comprehensive research on the history of a town or region, has to make use of a diversity of sources. For example, in a study like this attention should also be paid to economic aspects such as the establishment, growth and role of commercial undertakings, industries and financial institutions. The records of a local trader or businessman could shed important light on the socio-economic life of that specific community. From these business records it should inter alia be possible to determine the type and quantity of stock bought by the trader, as well as his turnover; which goods appear to have been locally produced, and which were imported from elsewhere; customers' buying habits and their credit arrangements. Biographical information on the proprietor(s) might also be contained in the records.

Unfortunately such documents are generally quite rare for they get lost in the course of time or are simply disposed of as a result of the ignorance or indifference of those who accumulate them. Since business records are moreover not subject to the regulations of the Archives Act, their 'compulsory' official safeguarding is out of the question. The task of preserving such records must therefore usually be performed by individuals and organisations.

A notable attempt in this regard is the Vaal Teknorama which was recently established in Vereeniging to house, amongst others, business and industrial archives for the Vaal 'Quadrangle'. It is being jointly financed and managed by the local authorities of four towns in the region with a view to collecting and cataloguing the records of local industries and commercial enterprises and making these accessible to researchers. Business and industrial records from outside the region will in the future also be accepted, thus lending the Teknorama a national character.

In addition to this plan of action, individuals sometimes also get involved in tracing and storing business records. An article in this issue of Contree deals with such a case. The collection of business records from Willowmore indeed attests to the initiative and foresight of two persons realising the importance of safeguarding such records. At the same time their efforts might provide guidelines to those planning a similar project.

Redaksioneel

Om sinvolle en omvattende navorsing oor die geskiedenis van 'n dorp of streek te kan doen, is die historikus op 'n wye verskeidenheid bronne aangewese. In so 'n studie moet byvoorbeeld ook aandag gegee word aan ekonomiese aspekte soos die ontstaan, groei en betekenis van handelsondernemings, nywerhede en finansiële instellings. Die dokumente van 'n plaaslike handelaar of sakeman sou belangrike lig kon werp op die sosiaal-ekonorniese lewe van die bepaalde gemeenskap. Daar sou onder meer uit sodanige bronne vasgestel kon word watter soort en hoeveel voorrade deur die firma aangekoop en verkoop is, watter handelsware moontlik plaaslik geproduseer en watter van elders ingevoer is, wat klante se kooppatrone was en watter kredietreëlings met hulle getref is. In hierdie sake-argiewe kan moontlik ook biografiese besonderhede omtrent die eienaar(s) en ander belanghebbendes opgesluit lê.

Oor die algemeen is sulke dokumente ongelukkig skaars omdat dit met verloop van tyd verlore raak of bloot vernietig word weens die onkunde of ongeërgdheid van diegene wat dit skep. Bowendien val sake-argiewe nie onder die bepalings van die Argiefwet nie sodat daar geen sprake van 'verpligte', amptelike bewaring kan wees nie. Hierdie taak moet dus gewoonlik deur privaat persone en instansies verrig word.

'n Prysenswaardige poging in die opsig is die vaal Teknorama wat onlangs in Vereeniging tot stand gebring is om onder andere 'n sake- en nywerheidsargief vir die 'Vaalvierhoek' te huisves. Dit word gesamentlik gefinansier en beheer deur die stadsrade van vier dorpe in die gebied met die oogmerk om die argiewe van plaaslike nywerhede en handelsondernemings te versamel, te ontsluit en vir navorsers toeganklik te maak. Sake- en nywerheidsarchivalia van buite die streek sal mettertyd ook aanvaar word, iets wat aan die Teknorama 'n nasionale karakter sal gee.

Afgesien van doelgerigte stappe soos hierdie, is dit soms individue wat nou betrokke raak by die opsporing en bewaring van sake-argiewe. In 'n artikel in die uitgawe word so 'n geval in oënskou geneem. Die Willowmore versameling van dokumente getuig nie net van die inisiatief en versiendheid van twee bewaringsbewuste persone nie, maar kan terselfdertyd as riglyn dien vir diegene wat 'n soongelyke projek wil aanpak.

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