Ambassador Gaspard presented Liliesleaf Farm CEO Nicholas Wolpe with a U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) grant totaling $103,329 at a signing ceremony in Rivonia on October 12. Liliesleaf Farm was selected to receive the grant following a worldwide competition for funds dedicated by the U.S. government to the preservation of cultural sites, cultural objects, and forms of traditional cultural expression in more than 100 countries.
Liliesleaf Farm will utilize the grant to conserve rare items of significant value and relevance to the history of South Africa’s liberation movement, including oral histories, rare books, letters from prison, scrapbooks, strategic organizational documents, and works produced in exile. The project aims to increase sustainability, accessibility, and awareness of the items through digitization for future scholars.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, where he presented several historical documents for public display the first time ever, Nicholas Wolpe said, “this AFCP grant will enable the Liliesleaf Trust to commence with the conservation and preservation of invaluable historical material. Liliesleaf is committed to ensuring that our past is not only conserved and preserved but is also accessible and available through the digitation of all material in the archive. We appreciate this AFCP grant, which will go a long way to enabling Liliesleaf to fulfill this critical mission task and objectives.”
Ambassador Gaspard said, “I find it especially poignant that we are able to support the Lilliesleaf project in a year when South Africa is marking a series of important anti-Apartheid milestones, including the 40thanniversary of the Soweto uprising and the 60th anniversary of the Women’s March. The preservation of the rare materials and documents of the courageous men and women who fought against Apartheid ensures that future generations will continue to learn from the lessons they taught us.”
Since the AFCP’s inception in South Africa in 2003, the U.S. government has provided more than $1 million for 13 projects that recognize the country’s remarkable cultural heritage. The first AFCP project involved archaeological objects and site preservation at the Cradle of Humankind UNESCO World Heritage site. The second AFCP project, in 2004, involved the collection of oral histories of former residents of District Six in Cape Town, who were forcibly removed from their homes by the Apartheid government and separated from their neighbors beginning in the mid-1960s. AFCP funds have continued to be provided to deserving organizations; just yesterday Ambassador Gaspard presented a $500,000 grant to Iziko Museums for the conservation of objects recovered from the 18th Century São José Slave Shipwreck in Cape Town The AFCP grant to conserve of the 20th-century Lilliesleaf Archive Collection continues this tradition, supporting the work of an esteemed South African institution to fill historiographical gaps of the anti-Apartheid struggle and other defining events in modern South African history.