The project entails documenting the available material that exists on the Special Forces. The project seemed simple in the beginning and started with a simple E-Mail for all to send their stories and some photos. The floodgates opened. It was only when we sat back and thought about it that we realized that the story was never told. The conflict years in the RSA was a time of national cohesion and nobody spoke. Nobody was allowed photos and nobody discussed what they did. Everyone lived in their compartments.
Now that we understood the extent of the content that needs to be assembled we realise this is the biggest project that has been undertaken within the Recce Group. We have accepted the obligation to collect and collate the content so it can be presented as a coherent story to the next generation. This requires much more than just scanning and documentation. It requires the content to be in context.
We anticipate the process to take 3 years until we have meaningful content that will suffice. But we also know that this is a life’s mission that never ends. There is always a new story, an old flag, and a special photo. To ensure we tell the whole story we have designed the E-Archive to be able to store every single bit that is received. So if there is 1000 photos of a chopper we will store them all – with the metadata with it – meaning who, what, where, when, why and with what it is associated with. The same for the objects, the same for the stories and anecdotes. In this way we can tell the story of the collective as well as the story of the individual. The design of the E-archive then places each individual in the story line.
As we go along the process, we will get better at it. If our history is anything to go by then this will be a world class product when we are done that does those that have served proud. It is true that old soldiers never die – they just fade away. With this they will fade away gracefully.