Thursday, February 28, 2013

Out with the old, in with the new

A new set of timpani for the SABC Music Library.

By Suzette Lombard,  Principal Music Librarian

The SABC Studio Orchestra with conductor Theo Wendt,
taken in the old SABC studios in Commissioner Street in 1952

Most classical music instruments are made to last, and some do last a lifetime. Many of the instruments in the Library were purchased in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s of the previous century, when the SABC still had its own symphony orchestra.

Some instruments are still working hard, as a lot of regular library clients will be able to testify!

An old Ludwig timp which is being written off

A few of the older timpani or kettle drums have been repaired, overhauled and serviced countless times, but have now finally earned some rest. They will be replaced by a new set of Yamaha concert timpani bought recently.

A new Yamaha timp in its light-weight custom-made transport case


Related posts:

New Yamaha Grand Piano

Acquisition in the SABC Music Library - Paiste Crotales

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Searching for Sugar Man, also in the SABC Archives

"Sugar Man", the story of a forgotten singer, won the best documentary at the Oscars this week.
Sixto Rodriguez made two records in the early 1970s, but it never took off in America.
Unbeknown to him, it became very popular in South Africa.

Searching for Sugar Man, is the story of two South Africans and their search for this elusive singer.

Big is the surprise when we see a clip showing our own collections in the SABC Record Library and how censorship made it impossible for it to be played during the Apartheid years.
Luckily the short clip is available on YouTube.
(It is also available as a podcast on iTunes).


This is a documentary worth seeing!

Blog post by Karen du Toit.






Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A quick peek in the SABC Radio Archives: I am holding…



Bernard Monayi is the News and Actuality Archivist in the SABC RadioArchives.

He makes sure that journalists and producers of news and actuality get timely audio clips from archives. They usually want the audio “yesterday already”, and he mostly has to operate under pressure.

At this moment he is working on…

I am currently dubbing archived audio of Madiba’s [Nelson Mandela] speeches for re-broadcasting by SABC Radio News and Current Affairs Programmes.

I am also busy digitizing raw audio of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission from cassettes onto CDs when I'm not recording broadcast audio clips for journalists. 



Related post:




Blog post: Karen du Toit, Afrikaans Archivist

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The importance of radio – on World Radio Day 2013 #WRD13 #worldradioday


As seen from the perspective of the SABC Radio Archive archivists.

This is the second year in a row that World Radio Day is being celebrated worldwide.
It is a day to highlight the importance of radio, and for broadcasters to make a connection to cooperate.

World Radio Day and UNESCO are focusing on the “promotion access to information and freedom of expression over the airwaves”

The SABC Radio Archives in South Africa collects and receives radio material from all South African Broadcasting Services (SABC) public broadcast services (PBS).
The material is catalogued and stored in various repositories across South Africa.


The archivists at SABC Radio Archives in Johannesburg have the following to say about the importance of radio:

Refiloe Jele (Acting Manager & Music Archivist): My history and my culture on record!

Johann Greyling (Sport Archivist & Team Leader: Cataloguing): Radio is the most important medium of communication in the world; it reaches where TV, the internet and no print medium can dream to reach.

Obakeng Phiri (Archivist: Sound Restoration): 1. Radio as a wealth of information is always readily available; 
2. Radio continues to play an important role in information sharing; and,
3. Radio broadcasts provide real-time information, broadcasting 24 hours a day to provide the most recent updates to listeners.

Retha Buys (Request archivist & Springbok Radio custodian): Radio is your any-time  anywhere companion and memory….

Morongwa Mokwena (English archivist): I think radio is a powerful tool for social change as it provides access to information . . .addresses issues for social change like gender inequality, HIV etc. and in this way it empowers society.

Joseph Lobeko (Archivist: Sound Restoration): Old preserved records of historical nature are re-purposed by being broadcasted on radio; e.g. the Mandela treason-trial speech is still relevant today in nation-building.  

Peter Raseroka (Ikwekwezi archivist): Radio is important because it updates you each hour on  news and programmes that are educational, religious, youth orientated and sports, to name a few. Radio people also watch television, but sometimes turn down the audio to listen to radio simultaneously, especially with sports.  Blind people are enjoying radio because they are able to visualize more. Radio gives you more information on what's happening! 

Elizabeth Mate (Channel Africa archivist): Radio is very important in the rural areas, especially where people don’t have television. It helps tremendously with death announcements!

Ntokozo Khanyile (News & Actuality archivist): Radio tells various stories and brings news to the listeners as soon as they are available. Radio Archives bridges the history gap and makes all news accessible to all generations.

Nare Monyai (News, actuality & sport request archivist): Radio broadcasting is the modern instrument for informing, educating and entertaining listeners, even in remote areas of the country. 

Karen du Toit (Afrikaans archivist): Radio records the heritage of the cultures in South Africa. The radio archives are vital to store this memory for future generations.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Springbok Radio - a radio station lives on because of their dedicated listeners

A guest post contribution for the second World Radio Day in 2013.





Springbok Radio, a former radio station of the South African Broadcasting Corporation in South Africa, closed its transmission at the end of 1985. It was the first commercial radio station of the SABC.

During the time of 1950 -1985 there was no dedicated effort to collect all the radio programmes for archives, and most of the programmes were recorded over one another to save resources, which was mostly in the format of reel-to-reel tapes.

The SABC Radio Archives have found some of these recorded gems in the archives, but it was only by the passion of the listeners that a large collection of the Springbok Radio material was saved.


The guest post can be found at Lifeline Energy: 


Thursday, February 7, 2013

In Memoriam: Bea Reed, Golden Girl of Springbok Radio


V 2013-01-29



Bea Reed, fondly referred to as the “Golden Girl of Springbok Radio” sadly passed away on 29 January 2013. 

Bea, who started her broadcasting career in 1955 for the then English Service, joined Springbok Radio in 1958, when she took over the program “Cascade of Stars” in the absence of Valerie Meyer.  Her enthusiasm about jazz music mirrored in her program “Bea with me”, which soon became a very popular programme on Springbok Radio.

In July 1960 Bea became the first woman to be appointed as a full time Springbok announcer.  In the SABC Bulletin of 18 July 1960, Bea recalled: “I was chatting to Steve de Villiers one day, when I casually – and jokingly – said “Hoe lyk dit met ‘n vroumens op Springbok?”  Steve laughed and said they’d never really thought of it seriously, but considered it a good idea.  That was that for the time being and I forgot all about it.  Not long after, he called me to his office and asked me if I’d like to be the first ‘vroumens’ on Springbok.  I am absolutely delighted.”

Bea was a steel buyer before she ventured into broadcasting, and her first broadcast was during the SA Cricket team’s visit to the UK, when she made an announcement at the conclusion of an over.  Being more than a broadcaster, she compéred events, e.g. the “Tots and Teens” fashion parade in 1963, of which the proceeds went to the Cripples’ Care Association.  She was also part of a panel of judges who chose the first “Printers’ Princess” during the first ever “Printers’ Safety Week” in 1964, and she was a judge for “Springbok Radio’s Toy for Joy” competition in 1967.

But above all Bea was very focussed on her family.  Swiss radio engineer, Jean-Claude stole Bea’s heart, and they married in 1960.  Her own parents lived in New Zealand, so Peter Lamsley, Springbok Radio Production Manager gave her away.  They had two sons, Phillipe and Jean Pierre.  An article in the SABC Bulletin in 1964 depicted her as always putting her husband and children first in all things, and that she arranged her life around them.  From her own mouth in the same article, came some wisdom which we can all remember:  “If you want to work and have a family, you have to be careful or else you’ll end up neglecting one or the other.”  For this reason she resigned as full-time announcer before the birth Jean Pierre.  And other than radio and family, Bea loved cooking and embroidery. 

Besides her popular “Family Favourites’, Bea was also involved in “Match the Colour with Rockgrip”, and “The Phillips Key Game”, amongst others. 

As Lynn stated in an SABC Bulletin in 1970, “Bea (was) one of those divine people who really enthuses!  Life, to her, (was) one big bowl of cherries – and she manage(d) to infect everyone around her with that same feeling.” 

From Springbok Radio Revisited’s side, a standing ovation to Bea Reed, who will keep on shining in the memories of all who loved her.

-       RethaBuys, Senior Archivist: Springbok Radio Revisited, SABC Radio Archives

Friday, February 1, 2013

Thoughts about internship in the SABC Media Libraries



Justice Leshilo has been an intern at the SABC Information Library for the last ten months.
He answered a few questions yesterday, his last day in the office.

What are some of the most important things you will take with you after you leave the SABC Media Libraries?

You know, I was lucky to be part of the Media libraries and most importantly the SABC as a whole. 
It was my dream to learn and acquire skills for special libraries. I now know how to handle info requests, as well as scanning and indexing of newspapers; and much more.

Did you enjoy your time here while doing the internship, and why?

I enjoyed every single day of my time here. This was my first actual job straight from university. We heard about some issues where interns are being sent to and fro to do coffee for the seniors...I was a bit anxious at first, but it was not the case. 

I was placed in the hands of warm people who told me to let loose, work hard and ask when I don’t understand. They taught me more about life and work. It felt like I knew them before, but this is my first time in Johannesburg. I am sad that I am leaving, BUT good that I pocketed much sought after experience. Thanks to the hand that selected me during interviews I will not disappoint them and will never forget them.

Would you recommend doing an internship?

Yes, this is a platform to tell other employers that you do not only have a qualification, but you also have the experience. It is very hard to get a break in the job market in with just a mere qualification fresh from university.

What are your plans for the future?

Having completed my internship from such a big organization, the future looks good. 
I am now confident that I will be able to work at other media organizations/companies.

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Best wishes for a bright future, Justice!


Related post:

Interview with an intern in the SABC Information Library - Justice Leshilo


Questions and blog post by Karen du Toit.