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DUT’S DR CHISITA IS APPOINTED SECRETARY FOR THE IFLA SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP INDIGENOUS MATTERS SECTION

DUT’S DR CHISITA IS APPOINTED SECRETARY FOR THE IFLA SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP INDIGENOUS MATTERS SECTION

Durban University of Technology’s (DUT’s) Dr Collence Takaingenhamo Chisita has been appointed Secretary for the International Federation of Library Association (IFLA) Special Interest Group (SIG) Indigenous Matters Section (IMS); being the only candidate from Africa representing the continent. His appointment is from the period from August 2021 to August 2023.

Dr Chisita is a researcher, editor, author and lecturer in Information Sciences in the Faculty of Applied Sciences. He has been working with different local and international organisations including LIASA, ZIMLA, LIAZ, AFLIA and IFLA. He has been working as a lecturer in higher education in Zimbabwe and a Research Fellow in UNISA. Dr Chisita has presented papers at local and international conferences including the 2019 Inter-lending and Document Supply (ILDS) Conference in the Czech Republic. He has collaborated with other researchers from the different IFLA Special Interest Groups on issues that affect libraries in the modern era. Dr Chisita has written journal articles, book chapters and produced conference papers. He has participated and presented on webinars relating to topical issues on libraries and related institutions and the emerging technologies.

The IFLA is the leading international body representing the interests of people who rely on libraries and information professionals. The non-governmental, not-for-profit organisation was founded in Scotland in 1927 and maintains headquarters at the National Library of the Netherlands in The Hague. IFLA sponsors the annual IFLA World Library and Information Congress, promoting universal and equitable access to information, ideas, and works of imagination for social, educational, cultural, democratic, and economic empowerment. It also produces several publications, including the IFLA Journal.

Dr Chisita was ecstatic upon hearing the news and when he had received his congratulatory letter on his appointment from Gerald Leitner, Secretary General of IFLA.

Leitner said: “IFLA’s Sections develop activities and resources to support the global library field. This can only happen with your wholehearted commitment and engagement with others on your Standing Committee. In turn, you will gain an international perspective and a network of colleagues passionate about your area of librarianship.”

Speaking of IFLA, Dr Chisita said that it has many Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and regional units that focus on the various activities of the organisation on a global scale.

“The Indigenous Matters Section (IMS) is one such entity. The Section’s main purpose is to support the provision of culturally responsive and effective services to indigenous communities throughout the world. Its main objectives are to promote international cooperation in the fields of library, culture, knowledge and information services to indigenous communities that meet their intergenerational, community, cultural and language needs, and to encourage indigenous leadership within the sector, exchange of experience, education and training, and research in all aspects of this subject,” he said.

Dr Chisita emphasised that the Section seeks to also connect, collaborate and work in cooperation with other IFLA Sections; national indigenous library, culture, knowledge and information associations/groups; and the International Indigenous Librarians ‘Forum (IILF).

“I have been working with IFLA since 2009 as a corresponding member for the IFLA literacy and Read Section since 2009 to 2012. A corresponding member is responsible for writing articles on intellectual and professional development in the LIS profession,” he said.

He began working on the IFLA-Indigenous Matters Section (IMS) when he had contributed an article to their book “Frogner, R. O. (2018). Indigenous Notions of Ownership and Libraries, Archives and Museums ed. by Camille Callison, Loriene Roy, and Gretchen Alice Lecheminant. Archivaria, 85, 182-192.”

“The article I contributed to is entitled: Chisita, C. T., Rusero, A. M., & Shoko, M. (2016). Leveraging Memory Institutions to Preserve Indigenous Knowledge in the Knowledge Age. In Indigenous Notions of Ownership and Libraries, Archives and Museums (pp. 273-285). Germany, Hannover: DE Gruyter Saur. I continued working with IFLA-IMS until they wrote to me that I should consider working with them on a voluntary basis as part of the world-wide community voluntary services. In 2020 IFLA-IMS informed me that I should consider joining them,” he said.

He had also received nominations from different library professionals drawn from across the globe. Having been elected into the Standing committee, he had contested for the position of Secretary General which he had won resoundingly. He indicated that meetings will be held virtually and travelling will be possible when COVID-19 simmers down.

Besides this achievement, Dr Chisita said that he has published journal articles, book chapters and four books.

“I have presented papers at leading international conferences and universities in Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas and the Caribbean,” he said.

He further explained why is it vital for academics like himself at DUT to be part of such organisations, saying that Library and Information Studies is an international discipline and such networks or linkages with international organisations are a source of knowledge and social and intellectual capital to leverage DUT courses in line with international best practices.

Dr Chisita said that with DUT’s ENVISION2030, his role as an academic and this new portfolio intertwines, indicating that it does resonate, because IFLA Indigenous Matters Section aims to promote creativity, innovation and the ability to adapt to change in the drive to realise a just world whereby all cultures contribute to the goodness of humanity.

“The challenges facing the world require action from all cultural groups and its high time the marginalised indigenous groups throughout the world contribute towards an inclusive world society. It is a vision of society based on the notion that all knowledge and culture matters and that epistemic justice is the basis for inclusive development,” he stressed.

One of the main aims Dr Chisita hopes to achieve, is to promote and engage indigenous groups throughout the world. He wants to promote the development of libraries and related memory institutions for the indigenous people, the incorporation of indigenous ways of knowing into the LIS curriculum, create spaces for indigenous people so that their voices are heard and they are empowered to take action in leveraging their lives in line with sustainable development goals.

“I hope to promote intercultural and intergenerational dialogue so that in our diversity we can build a culture of cooperation and collaboration by learning from each other,” he said.

Going forward, one of his goals to achieve academically, is to produce more academic content for publishing.

Pictured: Dr Collence Takaingenhamo Chisita

Waheeda Peters

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