Partnering with Google to Present South African History to the World

One of the highlights of our year last year was to partner with the Google Cultural Institute in curating stories of South African history particularly relating to the history of apartheid.

When I was in Amsterdam two years ago for the World Press Photo Award Days at which Jodi Bieber won the World Press Photo of the Year award, I happened to meet Google’s William Echikson who is head of Communications and Public Affairs for the region of the world that includes Africa. He was really interested in what we were doing and one thing led to another and before long I was in Cape Town meeting with Heather Wall and Mark Yoshitake of the Google Cultural Institute and talking about curating South African history online. They had already worked with the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory in a widely publicized project and wanted to extend the work.

With a responsibility to represent collections on behalf of institutions and photographers, we saw the opportunity to both get our history as Africans widely available to a global audience and also to drive traffic and ultimately revenue back to the originating archives and photographers. So my wife Rosanne, who founded and runs the AMO media library spent months working hard with Google to not just curate the stories, but also to make sure all the links and click throughs were in place to drive traffic back to the Africa Media Online site where interested parties could purchase publication and use rights.

We certainly felt the impact immediately the project was launched as we had a record number of visitors to the site that month. Click on the links and images below to explore the online exhibitions.