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Getting More People and Information Online in Africa -- including Nelson Mandela’s and Desmond Tutu’s Archives

(Cross-posted from The Google Africa Blog to bring you information on philanthropic efforts across Google)

As one of the most influential leaders of our time, and the face of South Africa’s incredible transition to democracy, Nelson Mandela’s name is almost synonymous with efforts to create meaningful dialogue and promote social justice. It is with huge excitement that today we announce a $1.25 million dollar grant to the Nelson Mandela Foundation Centre of Memory, which will help to preserve and digitize thousands of archival documents, photographs, and audio-visual materials about the life and times of Nelson Mandela.

The online Mandela archive, which will be made available to the global audiences in the future, will be a wealth of information for those wanting to learn about and research the life and legacy of this extraordinary African statesman. The online multimedia archive will include Mr Mandela’s correspondence with family, comrades and friends, prison diaries, and notes he made while leading the negotiations that led to the end of apartheid in South Africa.

A grant of the same size has also been made to the Desmond Tutu Peace Centre in Cape Town, for the documentation and digitisation of Desmond Tutu’s archive, as well as an interactive digital learning centre.

At Google we want to help bring the world’s historical heritage online -- and the Internet offers new ways to preserve and share this information, in Africa and elsewhere. Recent examples of our efforts in this field include our partnership with Yad Vashem, the Jerusalem-based archive of Holocaust materials, and our partnership with some of the world’s most famous art museums, through the Art Project.

We are also delighted to be announcing additional grants, also through the Google Inc. Charitable Giving Fund of Tides Foundation, which will help bring many more people online across South Africa and Africa, so that they can benefit from better access to information. These include grants to the Tertiary Education and Research Network (TENET) of South Africa ($750,000 for continued work to assist South African universities with Internet and information technology services), the Nigeria ICT Forum ($500,000 to support efforts in improving access to Internet infrastructure in tertiary education institutions in Nigeria), and the Network Startup Resource Center (NSRC) at the University of Oregon ($1,250,000 to enable more people in numerous African countries to participate in and contribute to the global Internet).

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