The African Studies Library pamphlet collection is regarded as one of UCT Libraries' greatest treasures. After surviving the Jagger Library fire, the complete collection was recently digitised for posterity and made discoverable.
The AV Archive used to live in the basement of the Jagger Library and was one of the first areas to be salvaged following the fire. A decision was made to expedite the recovery of the AVA through a digitisation project.
Copyright is a limited-time monopoly. Which is a fancy way of saying that it doesn’t last forever. Eventually, it expires. Except when it doesn’t. How many things in South African archives have perpetual copyright? So very many.
The urgency to restore the AV collections in UCT Libraries Special Collections is underscored by their critical role in documenting the history of struggle, and transition to, human rights and democracy in South Africa.
Nearly two years on, significant gains are evident during the recovery and rebuilding of our African Studies and Rare Books collections. Our goal is to enable access to users during this interim period, albeit in a small way.
Initially believed to be entirely destroyed by fire, the AV team has recovered at least 850 titles of the original African Studies Film Collection. They were kept in VHS format and have now been digitised.
The 14th of August marks the anniversary of the 1968 UCT sit-in over the Mafeje Affair. To mark this occasion, archivist Clive Kirkwood has written a blog post showcasing the wide range of primary sources used in Emeritus Professor Howard