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Archiving Empire


Archiving Empire

Audio visual Archives

The Overseas Film and Television Archive was a collection of 1,664 films documenting the end of Empire. Films are the product of The Overseas Film and Television Centre, an offshoot of the Colonial Film Unit set up in 1940 as part of the government’s Ministry of Information. The Centre’s stated purpose was to enable colonial countries to establish and maintain their own independent film units by providing technical help and training.

Countries included were Aden, Barbados, Cameroon, Ceylon, Ethiopia, Falkland Islands, Gambia, Ghana, Guyana, British Honduras, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Kenya, Libya, Malaya, Mauritius, Nigeria, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Sarawak, Singapore, Somaliland, St. Lucia, Sudan, Tanganyika, Togo, Tonga, Uganda, United Kingdom, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Subjects covered include agricultural, fashion; clothing; craft; music; elections; national anthems; state funerals; literacy, numeracy and health education – including the awareness and treatment of diseases – construction; sporting life and various moments of historical importance including the Biafran war.

Public figures featured in the films include Norman Manley, Alexander Bustamante, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Idi Amin, Jomo Kenyatta, Kwame Nkrumah, Olusegun Obasanjo, Yakubu Gowon, Nelson Mandela, Daniel Arap Moi, Julius Nyerere, Milton Obote, Awolowo, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Mobutu Sese Seko, Ben Zvi, Edward Seaga, Edward Mutesa, Archbishop of Canterbury, Winston Churchill, Colonel Gaddafi, H.M the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, Shah of Iran, General de Gaulle, Haile Selassie, Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II, Prince Charles and Lady Diana, Princess Margaret, Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, Jean Paul Bokassa, and John F. Kennedy.



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