Ebrahim Rhoda (left) and Shamiel Gamildien (right) with MEC Dr Ivan Meyer receiving a well deserved award on Monday evening. CFRFThe Cape Family Research Forum (CFRF) on Monday evening received the Western Cape Cultural Affairs’ Award for their Contribution to Marketing Archival Services and Resources in 2012 at a ceremony that took place at the Cape Town City Hall.

The award, presented by Minister of Arts and Culture, Dr Ivan Meyer, was received by the chairperson of the CFRF, Shamiel Gamildien and the organisation’s chief researcher, Ebrahim Rhoda.

The CFRF was part of the St Helena Island Heritage exhibition in 2012, resulting in the forum being nominated by Merle Martin , the heritage activist for St Helena Island Roots. “Thus the archival heritage fraternity bestowed this public recognition on the CFRF for its 10 years of endeavours of community outreach and transfer of archival research skills,” the forum’s PRO, Mogamat Kamedien told VOC.

“This Cultural Award for the promotion of the Archives , is based on the public outreach programme of the CFRF at the various community fairs such as the VOC Festival and the Boland Summer Festival, as well as the transfer of archival research skills workshop by the CFRF members to the Cape Flats community at large,” Kamedien added.

For the award Contribution to Marketing Archival Services and Resources, the adjudicating panel took into account:
– The extent which the nominee has been actively involved in research programmes to contribute to published articles, books, reports and arrangements of group visits to the reading room;
– The extent which the nominee has contributed to sustaining efforts to raise awareness of the services offered by the Archives to diverse community groups and marginalised sections of society;
– The extent which the nominee has contributed to exposing the youth to archival records to enhance learning about the past; and
– The extent which the nominee has participated in the furthering of preservation/ conservation programmes.

Taking Note

Speaking to VOC on Tuesday, Rhoda said the award was gratifying, because it showed that people have been taking note of the work the forum had been doing since its establishment in 2002. “In our category, we were competing with the Department of Enviromental awards and were fortunate that they chose us as winner. Since we began to research our legacy, it is safe to say that we have lit little fires and they are are now burning all over the show, bringing more people from our community to the archives to research their family history.”

The former school principal turned historian who has penned a number of books over the last decade on Cape Muslim history, has led the charge for the CFRF who has hosted several training programs at the Archives to introduce novices to research. The next workshop takes place on Saturday 2 March and is already full, while a second one for 2013 is planned for 11 May.

“We have been thrilled to see that people from across the spectrum have attended these workshops, from ordinary people just interested in researching their personal history, to other respected figures in our community, from academics to members of the ulema,” he said. The forum has even helped bring the archives closer to the community by ensuring that they have exhibition space at local heritage related events.

In presenting the Western Cape Cultural Affairs Awards, MEC Dr Ivan Meyer said: “The 2013 Western Cape Arts, Culture, Heritage, Museum, Geographical Names, Libraries and Archives Awards is a celebration of our common heritage. It is also a reflection of the values of our vibrant democracy in which the cultural and linguistic rights of all people are recognised and protected by the Constitution.” VOC


Article and photo reproduced and published with permission of The Voice of the Cape radio website.