Core to Central Africana’s own publishing and its work on behalf of clients has been its enormous photo-library covering many aspects of Malawi past and present. Compiled over thirty-five years over one million photographs, transparencies (diapositives) and in digital form, are organised into folders by subject matter or client.
Full access to all parts of this library is just part of Central Africana’s comprehensive service to clients seeking the best illustration possible for their reports, calendars or books. Categories in which the photo-library is particularly strong are agriculture, by crop and agro-processing, tourism – natural features, tourism appeals and developed infrastructure, the economy in general with an emphasis on infrastructure development as well as even personalities and important events.
Malawi has both before and after independence been unable to document its own remarkable growth in the archival manner expected and normal in developed countries. Photographs of Nyasaland are most easily located, after much expensive research, in libraries in the UK, in Johannesburg with residual Federal era collections in Harare. Very little indeed exists in Malawi both in the country’s newspaper libraries and in Ministry of Information archives, partly because of the inadequate resources devoted to archival establishment and maintenance.
Most commercial companies and institutions governmental and other remain unaware of this archival need yet when Malawi celebrates 50 years of independence in 2014 the same companies will seek to portray their roles in Malawi’s achievements in economic development as significant if not pivotal to that development. Voluntary institutions such as the Society of Malawi, founded in 1948, and working on shoestring budgets, will usually be able to offer some minimal pictorial proof of involvement in the nation’s successes since 1964 but Central Africana has, in its photo-library maintenance, been very aware of the growing and inadequately addressed need for historic photographs. It is often able, in addition to splendid photo coverage of today’s Malawi, been able to supplement this with its own ‘pictures from the past’, thus adding a whole new dimension to the public relations presentations of the country’s larger companies.
Since 2012 Central Africana offers the use of its specialist photo-library to all in need of illustration on Malawi. Clients should contact us indicating their need in terms of media and run as well as the subject matter sought. Central Africana will then send a selection of thumbnail images for refinement of choice. Finally upon payment as advised, a high resolution file will be transferred via a fast file transfer protocol. This would normally be on the basis of non-exclusive, worldwide, once only usage but the terms conditions and restrictions can be waived on request for an expanded or more permanent usage.