Funded by the Ford Foundation the pilot Culture Africa Network (CAN) Project enabled CAMA to establish documentary centres in seven countries across the African continent: Mali, Ghana, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique and South Africa. The project aim is to facilitate the local gathering and sharing of excellent digital documentary resources for education, research and the promotion of Africa’s artistic heritage and its `culture-makers`. After initial site visits, these institutions were chosen as CAN project partners on the basis of their interest in participating in a pan-African culture-sharing project of this nature, and their institutional capacity to host and staff a CAN documentary centre.
The digital resources being developed through this initiative, are intended both for the archival preservation of African cultural artefacts in their host countries, and to be shared between educational and cultural institutions throughout Africa. These include the documentation of living artists, musicians and their work, as well as art, music and ethnographic materials from existing holdings within several participating African museums and universities. Starting in September 1998, CAMA undertook the task of establishing CAN Centres – multi-media and digital video documentation studios and field recording units – in the following seven African countries:
Mali: The National Museums of Mali, Bamako
Ghana: The International Centre for African Music & Dance at the University of Ghana, Accra
Sudan: The Institute of African and Asian Studies, Traditional Music Archive, University of Khartoum.
Ethiopia: The Institute of Ethiopian Studies, Addis Ababa University
Kenya: Kuona Trust at The National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi
Mozambique: The National Cultural Archives (ARPAC), Maputo and The National Museum of Art, Maputo The National Company of Song & Dance, (CNCD) Maputo
South Africa: Contemporary African Music & Arts (CAMA) Archive, University of Cape Town.
Since the continental scale Culture Africa Network project is far larger in scale than its initiator, it has been agreed between the CAN centres that CAMA will host a separate website for Africa CAN, which will in due course also be linked to the web resources of participating institutions`.
The following are members of the CAN Project steering committee;
Prof J.H. Nketia (Chairman) Director, International Centre for African Music & Dance (ICAMD),University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana
John Turest-Swartz, Director, Contemporary African Music & Arts Archive, (CAMA) University of Cape Town, South Africa
Ali al Daw, Director, Traditional Music Archive, Institute of African and Asian Studies, University of Khartoum, Sudan
Dr Samuel Sidibe Director, National Museums of Mali, Mali