The archival profession in Tanzania is not new. However, many individuals and elites are not very much aware of what exactly archives is. Recently, the government of Tanzania has started making reasonable efforts to instruct higher learning institutions to develop curricula in Records and Archives management. Such efforts are meant to produce as many professionals as possible for the wellbeing of the profession and proper management and preservation of records and archival materials respectively. The section below provides a brief background of archives in Tanzania
Brief Background of archives in Tanzania
Tanzania was created by the unification of two states, Tanganyika and Zanzibar, which have two different administrative backgrounds. Zanzibar was under Arabian rule since the 16th Century followed by British colonization after the Berlin Conference of 1888, while the coastal areas of Tanganyika were under Sultanate rule since 16th Century, while the remaining parts were under native rule up to 1888 when the land become a Germany Colony for about twenty years, followed by British colonization after the First World War in 1918.
The British colonialism for Zanzibar lasted until 1963 when they gave Zanzibar independence by taking the administration back to Sultan, followed by the Zanzibar revolution of 1964. British colonization for Tanganyika lasted until 1961 when Tanganyika got its independence. Then in 1964, Tanganyika and Zanzibar united to form the current Tanzania.
During all past administrations the possibilities that archives was produced is clear but the archives existed at the National Archive are parts of Germany archives as much of them were destroyed or buried with them during their departure (Marcia Wright volume 28 number 4 1965 page 517 of Tanganyika Archival), during British rule and after independence. Archives from the time of native administration and Arab administration (with exclusion of that of Zanzibar) are not available in the National Archive.
The National Archives of Tanzania
After independence in 1961, the Tanganyika Government initiated the movement to build a national archives. In 1962 with the help of a technical team from UNESCO a report on the situational of archives in Tanganyika was compiled, with Jeffrey Ede from the Public Record Office leading the team (Marcia Wright volume 28 number 4 1965 page 511 of Tanganyika Archival).
Although the National Archives of Tanzania was established in 1963 by presidential decree and was followed by the 1965 Record and Archive Act with its related legislation like the Evidence Act of 1967 and the National Security Act of 1969, there were no college or University in Tanzania which was offering the Records and Archival studies at any professional level. The staff working at National Archives by then had either obtained knowledge and skills from abroad or had different discipline and acquired on job training to assist in the records and archives. Section 5 of the records and Archives Act of 2002 established the Records and Archive Management Department (RAMD), which has the mandate of managing the whole process of creating managing and preservation of records and archives in public and private organization
The archives collection at the Records and Archives Management Department
In Tanzania currently, the Germany Archives remain untranslated to the official language either English or Swahili which make them unavailable to the public. Although there are some measures being taken to translate them this has not yet been completed.
Institutions offering Records and Archives Management Training
The Tanzania Public Service College since its establishment In 1991 has improved the Civil servant services performance in records and secretarial and other disciplines by offering qualifications at the level of Certificate, and Diploma. In 2017 the Tanzania Public Service Colleage (TPSC) has initiated the Bachelor of Records and Archives with the same target to improve the effective, efficiency and performance in public and private organization in Tanzania. The pure Bachelor of Records and Archives is offered at TPSC, and some other educational institutions have also tried to offer certifications in this profession such as the Degree of Records and Public Management at Mzumbe University, and the Master of Records and Archives at the University of Dar es Salaam.
Availability of studying Materials
Since the Bachelor degree at TPSC is only in its first semester, for students it is very difficult to find reference books and other important materials concern archival discipline. There are no relationships established between the college TPSC and other colleges which would allow students to share their resources and experiences.
Challenge Facing archival profession in Tanzania.
Current there are no national financial supports or scholarships for the Record and Archival students which increase the challenges of the students, and results in some dropping the course before even the end of semester one. If there is any international institution which provide any assistance to the Records and Archive student, much is not known by Tanzanian students. Other challenges are employees low payment, and outdated, insufficient and poor working condition in the records office.
Opportunities in the Discipline
The current records management employment scheme provide a post of records manager for every public organization and department, Students of the Bachelor of Records and Archives are looking for the opportunities and collaboration which provide a chance of the discipline to grow professionally to the international level and provide exposure to the competent personnel worldwide. Being invited to the international conferences, meetings and seminars will support the growth of the discipline in Tanzania.