Much of South Africa’s music heritage, like that of our political past, is hard to access. Just as people and books were banned and censored, so too was music, sometimes along with the musicians who made it. Much of the material recorded was politically sensitive, or subversive; some of it was never commercially released, and has remained hidden, even forgotten. Troves of local recorded music await identification, digitisation and research.
Independent music archives currently lack the infrastructure to preserve their historical collections. An immediate concern is the deterioration of analogue tapes, records and other obsolete media on which much of this material is stored. Among other pressing concerns are the fading memories and sheer mortality of those who were involved.
The South African Music Archive Project aims to create an online resource on South African music and associated cultural heritage, so as to promote multidisciplinary research in the field of popular music and culture.
This site currently contains approximately 13,000 audio samples and associated metadata from 5 music collections.
These collections are:
For further information please contact Digital Innovation South Africa  (DISA)