Google donates 2.5 million USD to Mandela and Tutu project

InformAfrica News – Africa:

Former South African president Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu’s personal records and documents will be digitized and made publicly available online to the global audience.

Google also announced it has recently awarded smaller grants to educational groups, including South Africa’s Tertiary Education and Research Network (TENET), and the Nigeria ICT Forum.

Google announced it will be donating a total of $2.5 million dollars in support of creating digital archives to preserve documents, images, correspondence, and other materials in digital archives that preserve the details of South Africa’s arduous journey from apartheid to democracy. The monies will be split equally between the Nelson Mandela Foundation Centre of Memory and the Desmond Tutu Peace Center.

This is after internet giant Google and Seardel, a local clothing and textile manufacturer, struck a deal with Nelson Mandela Foundation Center of Memory (NMFCM),foundation senior official confirmed. Under the deal, Google has invested 1.25-million U.S. dollars in the project, which aims to put Mandela’s information online while a 46664 clothing line will raise funds for the global HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention campaign.

The funds will be used to help collect and digitize documents, images, audio, and video related to the lives of both Mandela and Tutu, as well as ensuring people in poor and outlying communities can access the material. Google will also be lending its digitization expertise—gleaned through its Google Books projects as well as other efforts—to help the archives get online.

More documents scripted by Mandela since the 1960s are being sought from private collectors and foreign governments.

Luke Mckend, the country manager for Google South Africa, said the grant would help to expand Mandela’s online archive and make it available to global audiences, especially scholars and researchers.

He said Google wanted to help bring the world’s historical heritage online, and the internet offered new ways to preserve and share this information.

According to the report Nelson Mandela foundation chief executive, Achmat Dangor, said Mandela’s information would be accessible to the general public unreservedly; however, he hoped people would not plagiaries it or use it for profit. Digitizing all of Mandela’s archives will take until 2012 to finish; thereafter, all information will be easily accessible.

“We hope they will be used for research and educational purposes,” said Dangor.

In the clothing partnership, branded clothing will carry the 46664 number and an outstretched hand. The apparel would not feature Mandela’s face as it was not to be used for commercial purposes, the foundation emphasized.

The clothing range would also not be modelled on something Mandela would wear.

The report says 46664 has expanded its focus from a global HIV/ AIDS awareness and prevention campaign into encompassing all areas of Mandela’s humanitarian legacy and confronting issues of social injustice.

Mandela’s prison number, 46664 was established in 2002 as an independent, not-for-profit organization.

Google also announced it has recently awarded smaller grants to educational groups, including South Africa’s Tertiary Education and Research Network (TENET), and the Nigeria ICT Forum.

-InformAfrica reports – Information for Africa!

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