THE BRITISH LIBRARY

Endangered archives blog

07 June 2019

United National Independence Party of Zambia Archive Online

International Archives Day is celebrated annually on the 9 June – and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to give an update on the archives of the United National Independence Party of Zambia (EAP121), a project that was funded in 2007.

EAP121_Pub001

The original records are still housed at the archives of UNIP

I think it is safe to say, that not a single month goes by without a request for access to this collection. It is a vital political archive and a key to understanding the struggle for self-governance in Zambia and its ruling party after independence in 1964. However, it is more broadly a primary source for all historians working on modern Zambia and neighbouring countries.

Unfortunately, because we did not know whether the material contained information about living individuals, we had taken the precautionary step of saying the archive could only be made available on site within one of the British Library’s reading rooms.

EAP121_Pub004

Inside the archive, with a bust of Dr Kenneth Kaunda, the first President of Zambia (from 1964 to 1991) and the nationalist leader Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula

We consulted researchers who had viewed the material as well as the Library’s Compliance Manager to get current advice on the Data Protection Act 2018. It became obvious that there was no sensitive material held within the files and that none of the material would be ‘likely to cause substantial damage or substantial distress to a data subject’ (section 19 of the Data Protection Act 2018). We therefore made the decision to make the entire United National Independence Party of Zambia collection available online. This now means that you can browse the 3,000 plus files from the comfort of your home or office rather than having to travel to London or Lusaka to visit the archives in person.

EAP121_Pub005

To browse the collection, please visit the EAP webite.