Captions not Matching Images

Diana Wall and Nicki Kirby have been noticing images that seem to have the wrong metadata associated with them. I have been down at the University of Fort Hare (March 15, 2018) with the opportunity to check a number of these images. This is a detailing of what I have found.

It may help to tell you how we identify these images in the physical archive. If we know the Vault number such as 504_26 we can then go to: and in the search box type in that number and click search. That will bring us this result:

Clicking on the image to enlarge it will bring this result:

Below the image there is a breadcrumb trail: ANC / Prints / London Mission Papers / Photographs Loose / Raw / BOX0011 / FLR0163

That breadcrumb trail tells us where in the physical archive to go to collect the item concerned. Below we will list the items by that information.

247_37:  ANC / Prints / Nelson Mandela Papers / Photographs Album / Raw / ALBUM053

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The image… comes with this caption:

Nelson Mandela with Prime minister Gro Harlem.

But it is followed with a series of images (such as image below) captioned Nelson Mandela visits Brussels.

Now if this is indeed a series of images where Nelson Mandela is awarded an Honorary Doctorate Degree, (Doctor Honoris Causa) from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) on 8 October 1993, a Dutch-speaking university in Brussels, Belgium). (Also known as the Free University of Brussels) – AS MY OWN RESEARCH suggests (looking at the location and the blue ribbon and logo etc), then what is Gro Harlem (Brundtland), the Prime minister of Norway doing there? Although the women in the image does actually look like her, I’m not happy to follow this lead under the circumstances.


A series in the album before the one above starts with the theme of honorary doctorates.  Doctor honoris CAUSA ULB. The 13th of January 1984

Almost certainly not Nelson Mandela!  Added confusion comes when both universities are called The Free University of Brussels (but are indeed different universities).



Below is what has been found in the physical archive (images taken on my iPhone)

This is on the front cover of the Album:


This is what I found inside the Album:


And this:


As I paged through the empty pages of the album I found this, probably in Nelson Mandela’s own handwriting:


And this probably giving information about who took the photographs:



The conclusion is that a significant amount of the relevant information was not captured and some wrong information was added. The image was definitely not of Gro Harlem.

423_41: ANC / Prints / Nelson Mandela Papers / Photographs Album / Raw / ALBUM052

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See above under 247_37.


In the Album I found full captions for each image.

Here is the front of the album:


Below is what is written on the inside pages:



Then are the photographs in order:

Then are the captions referring to the images:



A lot of very important metadata was missed when this was captured. This has led us to conclude that we need to have responsible people going through this whole collection again and checking that: a. important information has not been missed and b. wrong information has not been added to the metadata field.

215_53: ANC / Prints / Nelson Mandela Papers / Photographs Album / Processed / ALBUM009

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Image 215_53 with the caption below. I can tell you that this isn’t King Hassan II. I’ve seen the text in an on-line description of Mandela visiting different African countries (not necessarily Morocco). Things don’t add up as if it was  Mandela is wearing what appears to be the Order of Ouissam Alaouite – if it were Morocco but this isn’t listed as an award he was given.  Makes me wonder if it is Morocco at all.


This is the front of the album:


This is inside the album:



The caption captured was wrong. To the right of Nelson Mandela is not King Hassan II. There are other images in the album where he is in fact with the King. Here he is with another gentleman. The caption captured was wrong and did not reflect what was available in the digital archive. The name of the creator agency was in the album and this may not have been captured.

386_6: ANC / Prints / London Mission Papers / Photographs Loose / Raw / BOX013 / FLR205

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Image number 386_6 comes with the caption “Itse Pragen”. An extensive search couldn’t find anyone using these words; I’m unsure if this is a name or just two words added at sometime.


This is on the back of the photograph:



This is a challenge to decipher. What is written is certainly not “Itse Pragen”. But is it “Lise Prager” or was the writer dyslexic and so meant to write “Ilse Prager”? It is likely to be the person’s name.

504_26: ANC / Prints / London Mission Papers / Photographs Loose / Raw / BOX0011 / FLR0163

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Dc:description : Fanny Edelmann, Secretary-General of the International Democratic Women’s Federation (IDFF) gives a speech at the World Congress for International Women’s Year, held in Berlin, Germany, October 24, 1975.

This image assigned to Raymond had strange information with it. In German it had more or less what is above, except Frau was written Fran.

ADN-ZB/Spremberg/24.10.75/pe/Berlin: Weltkongreb. im Internationallen Jahr der Frau teil, der am 24.10.75 seine Beratungen im Plenum in der Werner-Seelenbinder-Halle beendet. Unter ihnen sind die Generalsekretärin der Internationalen Demokratischen Fraunenfoderation (IDFF); Franny Edelman (l.), und Vilma Espin, Präsidentin der FMC (Kuba); P 1024/107 N

In English it said : Dc:titleLoose Photograph, ANC Archives, , Mrs Oobrenowa presents Mrs Msimang the ANC logo


Written on the box:


Written on the folder:


On the back of the photograph:



Clearly the English transcription was wrong. The German was correct. I would be important to offer a translation.


396_43: ANC / Prints / London Mission Papers / Photographs Loose / Processed / BOX006 / FLR0086

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An example where I doubt all this was on the photo. 396-43, assigned to Zama Radebe:

Dc:description : Jay Naidoo, political activist. Shirt logo: RMC (Release Mandela Campaign)Viva Mandela; Release Mandela Jayaseelen Naidoo, (20 December 1954) was General Secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU 1985 – 1993). He then served as Minister for Reconstruction and Development under President Mandela and as Minister of Post, Telecommunications, and Broadcasting (1996 – 1999). Naidoo was a member of the NEC of the ANC.


This is on the box:


This is on the folder:


The image is inside a flap of paper and this is on the front:


And this is on the back:



More information has been captured than was available in the physical archive. There was a two week period right at the beginning of the process to capture information from the archive where the metadata capturers were encouraged to supplement information from research if no or little information was available and they knew who was in the picture. Fairly quickly we realised this was not the way to go as those doing the capture did not have sufficient experience. This is certainly an example of metadata captured during that time period. We are now going to have capturers going through parts of the archive that have not been worked on by the experienced metadata capturers to remove information that is not actually present in the physical archive.

362_15: ANC / Prints / Mohamed Ticky Papers / Photographs Loose / Processed / BOX001 / FLR0019

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From the Mohamed Ticky files, Photos, processed, box 1, file 1, 362-15.

This is the incorrect information with this photo. I spent some time getting this right, but it is now back in its original form.

Photoshop:headline : Eddie Funde
Photoshop:country :
Dc:description : Eddie Funde addressing a meeting of the South African Trades and Labour Council (SATLC). Sonwabo Eddie Funde (21/07/1943 – ) joined the African National Congress (ANC) underground and was forced into exile in 1965. He was Chief Representative of the ANC’s Australasia and Pacific Mission (1983 – 1991). He headed the reorganisation of the Youth Section in 1978 which became the foundation of the Youth League. He returned to South Africa to work in the Civil Service unit at ANC’s Head Quarters in Johannesburg in 1992. Later, he was South Africa’s ambassador in Germany.
Dc:format : image/tiff
Dc:creator : ANC Archives
Photoshop:state :

The union meeting that Eddie Funde is addressing is the United Trades and Labour Council of South Australia – NOT South Africa


The front of the box:


The front of the file:


Of the 18 photographs in the folder only 1 has information on the back. This is what the back of the picture we are investigating looks like:


Here is the image that has information on the back:


And this is the information:



The caption as it stands was clearly created on the basis of internet research and the capturer was not sufficiently experienced to know that SA referred to South Australia and not South Africa. This is the sort of information that will be removed in the next sweep of the collection.

246_1: ANC / Prints / Nelson Mandela Papers / Photographs Album / Raw / ALBUM059

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The whole of ALBUMS 058 and 059 are captioned either (verbatim):

Mandela visits China or

Visit to the people’s Republic of China by His Excellency Mr. Nelson Mandela president of the African National Congress, October 1992.

246_1 is a good example (below)

 This is NOT the People’s Republic of China – it is Taiwan (Republic of China) – a subtle difference in name but an enormous difference in politics and significance to SA, the ANC and Mandela. The figurehead behind the stage is the political leader of ROC  – Sun Yat-sen. The flag is a give-away.

Only experience tells me that this trip is probably made in 1993 (end of July). Mandela was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the Soochow University, a private university in Taipei City on the 1 August.


This is the front of the first album. There is no other information in the album at all.


This is the front of the second album:


The only other information that I could find was on a banner on this photograph:



The metadata capturers captured correctly for the first album. We do not know if that is a visit to the People’s Republic of China or the Republic of China.

For the second album, however, they could have captured the information from the banner at the ceremony at Soochow University. From that one may have discovered that there is a Soochow University in Suzhou, Jiangsu, China and one in Taiwan – very confusing. Based on the flag behind Mandela, though, this is the one in the Republic of China and not the People’s Republic of China.