BUJUMBURA December 20th (ABP) – The Burundi News Agency (ABP) in partnership with UNESCO, has been organizing from December 17 to 20, 2021, at the French Institute of Burundi (Bujumbura), an exhibition of photos of the said agency to “dust off the witness eye” by discovering the ABP photo archives.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communication, Information Technologies and Media, Mr. Anicet Niyonkuru, in his speech to launch the exhibition of photos from the ABP archives, expressed his gratitude to the said ministry and to all those who launched the idea, and those who supported it, especially UNESCO.
The ministry in charge of communication, he said, commends that initiative which only shows simple pictures but tells a story to Burundians.
For Mr. Niyonkuru, this is a storytelling visual, striking, because interspersed with emotional sequences. The strength of a photo is indeed to act on the emotional. A photo can fascinate as much as it can shock.
The ministry is asking its partners to help “dust off” and digitize the archives of the departments that hold photos that can reconnect Burundians with their past history.
A fascinating story at times; a shocking story at times, he said.
For him, these fascinating or shocking photos, more than stories told, would help Burundians to read their history the same way and, as a result, to reconcile.
The regional representative of UNESCO, Serges Banyimbe, indicated in his speech that the photo, like information, is a public good which helps societies to build themselves, to be edified, to see in their past and to project themselves in the future.
Journalism, he explained, is certainly a textual production but also a production of pictorial content which bears witness to a story at a time which, gradually, becomes a documentary heritage.
According to him, UNESCO is associated with this activity insofar as it promotes journalism but also documentation, the reason why it has supported the project with the aim of enhancing documentary heritage. The wish for UNESCO is to give a boost to the interest of the heritage existing at the ABP but which is unfortunately suffering. We must revalue and preserve the images existing in Burundi so that they help present and future generations to draw on the past to build a bigger and more prosperous Burundi, he said.
ABP Director General Nicolas Barajingwa said that the agency is in possession of an impressive amount of rich analogue archive photos, which constitute the heritage of Burundi. He also added that those photos relate national life in all sectors from colonization to the present day.
However, the director general of ABP deplores that those photo archives risk disappearing because they are preserved in an archaic way, which exposes them to theft, to the deterioration of their quality as well as the loss of captions.
So, the ABP needs funding to properly preserve its photos, keep up with the evolution of technology and enter the modern world of digitization, he added. Mr. Barajingwa did not forget to mention that digitization is especially required for the preservation of those photographic archives, in order to transform them into images of the digital system, easy to preserve and consult for the benefit of current and future generations.
According to him, ABP also seeks to familiarize its staff with the exploitation of the new digitization heritage and to make available to the public, especially young people, photos not found elsewhere on the old and recent history of Burundi, in all sectors of national life.
For that exhibition, ABP wants to enhance its photographic archives and stimulate donors who could finance the digitization of its photos for proper conservation.