"We will roll up our sleeves and get involved in whatever task necessary to restore the lost collections, and the discovery and knowledge contained therein." - Walter
As South Africa’s leading publisher of scholarly research (CREST, 2019:51). African Sun Media was, like the rest of South Africa, deeply saddened by the unfortunate events that led to the destruction of the University of Cape Town Library and its special collections. As a publisher and as a library, we share a common DNA. This is not confined to the printed word alone. It delves much deeper. We share the fundamental DNA that all knowledge is sacred, interconnected, and it is this that enriches society. On every level. What we as publisher and library are uniquely endowed with, is the ability to cross reference knowledge, as all knowledge should be. There is no mutual exclusivity between mathematics and poetry, nor is there a delineation in the boundaries of a botanist with that of a linguist, as there isn’t in the pursuit of juris prudence. We are all interconnected.
Knowledge is one.
The collective efforts to reposit that knowledge is the responsibility of society at large. Each and every one of us, our disciplines notwithstanding.
This is the beauty of discovery, and whilst we as publishers may be at the ground level of this intellectual endeavour, it is the library that makes this discovery immortal.
That we were robbed of this unique and irreplaceable body of knowledge by the flames of ignorance forced us all to countenance this responsibility we have to society even more acutely.
In contemplating how we respond to this moral outrage and devastation, we have not sat back and merely expressed commiserations, despite feeling it deeply.
We have decided to act.
As of today, we have seconded our Managing Director to the Task Team assigned with assessing and addressing the damage caused by the inferno, on a full-time basis. We will roll up our sleeves and get involved in whatever task necessary to restore the lost collections, and the discovery and knowledge contained therein.
It may seem like a Herculean task. However, we accept any challenge. The more minds at hand make it all that more achievable. The knowledge community must stand united in this effort. Across disciplines and institutions. The call of the hour is to break boundaries and to build, together.
We see it as our moral obligation as joint custodians of knowledge. As it should be society’s at large.
CREST. 2019. The Quality of South Africa’s Research Publications: Final report to the DHET. Stellenbosch: CREST.