Special Collections boasts some 1600 discrete archival collections, consisting of original research material relating to the political, social, cultural and economic history of Southern Africa, with a strong focus on the Western Cape. Collections deal with a wide range of subjects, including art, music, education, literature and language, botany, politics and architecture, and include records in all media.
- Personal papers of prominent people, or whose papers constitute an important record of Southern African social history.
- Papers of communities not strongly represented in archives.
- Corporate papers from non-governmental organisations, companies or institutions.
- Personal and research papers of UCT academics.
- Nonadministrative records relating to the history of UCT.
- Architectural collections of leading South African architects
- Papers and record books of ethnic and religious communities and papers of individuals prominent in such communities.
- Manuscript music scores and personal papers of South African composers
- Papers relating to labour and trade, and the records of labour unions
- Oral history of South Africa
- Papers and other materials associated with important social, historical, or cultural issues or movements.