The registry contains information about a wide range of South African archival and memory institutions and organisations, and international collections that hold material related to Southern Africa.

Sorted by Date / Title

Voortrekker Monument and Heritage Foundation (Voortrekkermonument en Erfenisstigting)

The Heritage Foundation (Non-Profit Company) was founded in 2002 with the purpose of looking after endangered heritage objects, specifically those that the Afrikaans speaking people of the population consider of value.

The Heritage Foundation raised ±R13.8 million towards the construction of the Heritage Centre on the grounds of the Voortrekker Monument Heritage Site, and also raised nearly R2.5 million for the Research Trust, to be awarded for relevant research.

The Ulwazi Programme

The Ulwazi Programme was established in 2008 as the first digital library in South Africa aimed at collecting and sharing indigenous knowledge and local history and culture. The Ulwazi Programme collects and shares local knowledge and histories in the form of a ‘wiki’, a website designed to enable contributions and modifications from multiple users. Local knowledge is recorded on the wiki by fieldworkers who are employed by the programme.

University of Stanford: African Map Collection

Stanford’s Maps of Africa Collection became a major research resource in August of 2001 with the acquisition of the Oscar I. Norwich Collection of Maps of Africa and its islands, 1486 – ca. 1900. This acquisition added 316 maps to Stanford’s existing holdings of Maps of Africa.

University of Illinois 'The Maps of Africa to 1900' Collection

The Maps of Africa to 1900-digital collection contains images of maps listed in the bibliography Maps of Africa to 1900: A Checklist of Maps in Atlases and Geographical Journals in the Collections of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (Bassett & Scheven, Urbana: Graduate School of Library and Information Science, 2000).

Library of Congress, United States of America

The Library of Congress is the USA’s oldest federal cultural institution and serves as the research arm of Congress. It is also the largest library in the world, with millions of books, recordings, photographs, maps and manuscripts in its collections.

The Library’s collections also houses a considerable number of documents and photographs from, and relating to, Africa.

University of Florida Map & Imagery Library Collection

The University of Florida Map & Imagery Library Collection contains more than 497,800 maps, 266,500 aerial photographs, 2,250 remote sensing images, and 7,215 atlases and reference books. It is the largest academic map collection in the Southeast, and among the top five academic map collections in the entire United States.

The Map & Imagery Library has general map coverage world-wide. Specialties of the collection include Florida, Latin America, the United States, Africa, and the Holy Land. Much of the Collection is cataloged, and can be searched by using the online Library Catalog.

International Library of African Music (ILAM)

The International Library of African Music (ILAM) aims to discover, record, analyze, and archive the music of sub-Saharan Africa, with the object of establishing a theory of music making in Africa and assessing the social, cultural, and artistic values of African music.

African Digital Library (ADL)

The mission of the African Digital Library (ADL) is to provide digitised full text resources to learners in Africa via the Internet, thereby contributing to the revitalization of education and life long learning on the continent and alleviation of the digital divide between First and Third world countries.

KwaZulu-Natal Museum

KwaZulu-Natal Museum ranks among the top National Museums in South Africa’s, a cultural and natural history museum renowned for its unique collections.

Bessie Head Library (formerly The Msunduzi Municipal Library and/or Natal Society Library)

Now, the Bessie Head Library (formerly The Msunduzi Municipal Library and/or Natal Society Library) has provided public library services for the people of Pietermaritzburg since May 1851. On 17th June 1975 the Main Library building in Church Street was officially opened with much fanfare. When opened the main Library building was a beautifully furnished, well-equipped, modern library with plenty of space and ample facilities for its users.

Library of Parliament, South Africa

The library of Parliament is a special library, which seeks to fulfil the information needs and requirement of Members of Parliament, Ministers and Parliamentary staff by providing unbiased relevant information and publications. The Library is a legal deposit library, meaning that it is entitled to claim a copy of every publication in printed and electronic form published in South Africa.

J.S Gericke Library

The J.S Gericke Library was established 1970 to house DF Malan and NP van Wyk Louw collections donated to the University of Stellenbosch, as well as other original documents and papers in the library’s possession. More than 320 collections have since been added, with most of these having strong ties with the Western Cape, and with the town and University of Stellenbosch.

Buffalo City Municipal Library

Dr Joseph Denfield offered his collection of historical material on East London to the library in 1967. This formed the foundation of the Local History Collection now housed in the Denfield Africana Library.

Brenthurst Library

The Brenthurst Library is one of the finest privately owned Africana libraries. It grew out of the personal collections of its founders, Sir Ernest Oppenheimer and his son Harry Oppenheimer, with the choice of material reflecting their interests and preferences. The library includes books, pamphlets, manuscripts, artworks and maps.

Killie Campbell Africana Library

The Killie Campbell Africana Library, at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, is well known for its comprehensive collection of books, manuscripts and photographs, covering a broad sweep of information about the south east African region and its population. Some highlights of this collection are the Historic Photograph Holdings, a large section of which is accessible on the web, the James Stuart papers which record some 200 testimonies of oral history and tradition taken down by this early 20th century Natal civil servant.

Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS)

From its foundation in 1868, the organisation known successively as the Colonial Society, Royal Colonial Institute, Royal Empire Society, and finally the Royal Commonwealth Society, amassed a library on the British Empire, the Commonwealth and member countries (together with smaller collections on the empires of rival nations) - an astonishing range of books, pamphlets, periodicals, official publications, manuscripts and photographs. The collection now consists of over 300,000 printed items, circa 700 archival collections (including manuscript diaries, correspondence, pictures, cine films, scrapbooks and newspaper cuttings) and over 100,000 photographs.

Kimberley Africana Library

The building housing the Kimberley Africana Library was opened on 23 July 1887 as the Kimberley Public Library, the institution which initiated the collection of rare books and Africana now housed in the Africana Library. The collection comprises books, manuscripts, maps, photographs and other documentary material on Kimberley, the Diamond Fields, the Northern Cape, archaeology and geology and many thousands of items celebrating the region’s past and its role in the history of South Africa and indeed of Africa.

Harold Strange Library of African Studies

The Harold Strange Library of African Studies primarily houses a collection of printed material, it does however, have an interesting and significant archival collections. Areas of specialization include: History of Johannesburg and the Witwatersrand; languages and literatures of Southern Africa; Anglo-Boer War, 1899-1902; theatre in Johannesburg; Historical buildings of Johannesburg; Southern African shipwrecks; and various political parties in South Africa.

Cory Library, Rhodes University

Although Cory Library is maintained by Rhodes University primarily for its faculty and students, it is also open to visiting researchers, staff and students from other universities, as well as the general public.

Sol Plaatje Museum and Library

The Sol Plaatje Museum and Library is in Kimberley, Northern Cape, South Africa, in a house where Solomon T. Plaatje lived during his last years, in Malay Camp, No 32 Angel Street. It was here that Plaatje wrote Mhudi.


Harry Molteno Library

The Harry Molteno Library is located at the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Cape Town. It dates back to 1913 when the Garden was founded. Since that time it has grown considerably and has moved several times. It is presently housed in the Kirstenbosch Research Centre, built in 1993 and named after Harry Molteno, who was instrumental in establishing the Molteno Trust, which funded the Kirstenbosch Research Centre.

Mary Gunn Library

The Mary Gunn Library is housed in the National Herbarium in Pretoria. This Library is the most comprehensive botanical library of its kind in Africa and serves as one of the important botanical and biodiversity resources in Africa.

L. Tom Perry Special Collections Library

L. Tom Perry Special Collections Library preserves and houses materials requiring regulation - including materials relating to Mormon history etc. Also, because of their uniqueness, value, or fragility, these materials are given great care to protect them from damage or theft and to ensure their proper long-term use.

Hathi Trust Digital Library

HathiTrust is a partnership of major research institutions and libraries working to ensure that the cultural record is preserved and accessible long into the future. There are more than 80 partners in HathiTrust, and membership is open to institutions worldwide.

National Library of South Africa (NLSA)

The National Library of South Africa (NLSA) is the leading national library and information centre of excellence in Africa and the world. The library’s mission is to act as the primary resource and custodian of South African documentary heritage, promotes creative, effective and efficient universal access to information.

HaChayim HaYehudim Jewish Photo Library

The HaChayim HaYehudim Jewish Photo Library’s mission is to contribute to the preservation of Jewish communities of the world by documenting them photographically. Each photograph gives vision to community life today, while safeguarding memories for tomorrow.

Archives and Manuscripts Department of Pitts Theology Library

The archival records, at the Archives and Manuscripts Department of Pitts Theology Library at Emory University, have been divided into thirteen series:

  • These are Personal Papers of Daniel William Alexander;

  • Constitution and Divine Liturgy;

  • Histories;

  • Synod Records;

  • Correspondence;

  • Educational Records;

  • Clergy Records;

  • Local Church Records;

  • Confirmation;

  • Baptism and Marriage Records;

  • Financial Records;

  • Miscellaneous Material;

  • Bound Printed Material; and

  • Unbound Printed Material.


University of Cape Town Archival and Special Collections

The UCT Archives preserves paper records in two sets of collections:

  • Administrative Archives and
  • the University Libraries’ Special Collections

University of Pretoria Archival and Special Collections

The University of Pretoria Special Collections unit was separated from the Humanities Faculty Library in April 2007 but its inception dates back to 1934 when the nucleus Africana collection was established by P.C. Coetzee, later professor in Library Science and chief librarian at U.P.

Special Collections plays a stewardship role in the collection, preservation and marketing of the Department of Library Services’ rare and/or valuable information resources and in making them available for research, according to the corporate policy for the University of Pretoria’s heritage collections.

North-West University Special Collections

The Special Collections of North-West University is housed at various locations on its different campuses. These include:

Stellenbosch University Archival Collections

The Library and Information Service acquired a substantial collection of rare and valuable books, documents, manuscripts and other material over many years by way of bequests, donations and purchases. Special Collections is located on the upper level of the JS Gericke Library, the central library of the Library and Information Service.

This division of the library has as its primary mission the acquisition and preservation of rare materials, making it accessible to clients as well as preserving it for posterity. The division consists of three sections namely Manuscripts, Africana and Rare Books. Each of these sections provides a specialised service and concentrates on specific areas of interest.

University of Johannesburg Archives, Rare Books and Special Collections

The Archives, Rare Books and Special Collections is located on the Doornfontein Campus. The Department started as a small Rare Book Collection Department and grew over time to include the University Archives, Special Collections (which include rare books, Africana and document/manuscript collections) and the Institutional Repository (our electronic archive).

University of Fort Hare Archival Collections

The University of Fort Hare Library has Campus Libraries located on the Alice Campus as well as at the East London Campus of the University, the Division of External Studies in Bisho and the Department of Nursing Sciences also in East London.

The Library has over 165 000 volumes of books, periodicals and other material. Special collections are housed in the Howard Pim Library of Rare Books which is situated on the ground floor of the the main library building. The East London Campus Library includes the Bisset Berry Collection that also is housed separately from the campus’s main collection. Pamphlets detailing the facilities and services provided in the Library are provided free of charge.

The Library also houses the Archives of the African National Congress (ANC). The bulk of this collection consists of records of the foreign missions of the ANC. The missions operated in 33 countries around the world during the anti-apartheid struggle. Among the records are the correspondence of each mission, press-cuttings, anti-apartheid posters, photographs and audio-visual records of mission activities. For anyone interested in the history of the struggle against apartheid, this collection represents a unique resource.


University of the Western Cape Special Collections and Research Repository

UWC Special Collections:

These collections hold a wide variety of records and different media. The mission of Special Collections is to support UWC in fulfilling its research, teaching and learning goals by collecting, preserving and making accessible primary resource material of unique and enduring research value to graduates, faculty and other researchers.

UWC Research Repository:

The repository is a service that stores, distributes and displays digital copies of research output of UWC faculty. Search across the entire collection or browse amongst the research communities associated with our faculties. Researchers register for an account and are given authorization to deposit files to relevant collections.

Walter Sisulu University: Africana and Special Collections

WSU Library Collections cater for a wide spectrum of scholarship ranging from the Undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate information needs. In addition to our local collections we expose our learners to resources held in other academic libraries in the Eastern Cape.

Rhodes University - The Cory Library Collections

The Cory Library at Rhodes University is maintained by Rhodes University primarily for its faculty and students, it is also open to visiting researchers, staff and students from other universities, as well as the general public. The library prides itself in the extensive collections held there. These include Methodist Church of South Africa Archives, the Lovedale Collection as well as the Sir George Cory Slides.


University of Limpopo: Special Collections

The University of Limpopo houses various Special Collections at both its Turfloop and Medunsa Campus Libraries. These include an Africana Collection, an Audio-Visual Collection and the Couper Medical Collection.

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