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

The South African Jewish Year Book Database

The South African Jewish Year Book Database contains over 1,000 extracted entries from two South African Jewish “Who’s Who” books: 1929’s The South African Jewish Year Book: Directory of Jewish Organizations and Who’s Who in South African Jewry 1929, 5689-90’, and ‘1945’s The Jew in South Africa: A record of what individual Jews are doing in various spheres of the country’s life’.

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.

Geology Education Museum (UKZN)

The Geology Education Museum, established in 1948, is located on the University of KwaZulu Natal - Westville Campus as part of the Science and Technology Education Centre.

GEM is the only geological museum in KwaZulu-Natal. The museum provides a series of displays pertaining to the high school syllabus, ranging from basic introduction to minerals and rocks, to Economic Geology and Palaeontology. Visitors to the Museum have “hands-on” contact with minerals and rocks, look down microscopes and sort fossils.

Forum for School Museums and Archives (KwaZulu-Natal)

The Forum for School Museums and Archives was started in 2010. It meets once a term to discuss matters of mutual concern. Regular training workshops are held. At present there are 11 members.

Amafa / Heritage

Amafa / Heritage KwaZulu Natal is the provincial heritage conservation agency for KwaZulu Natal. Amafa was established as a statutory body in terms of the KZN Heritage Act of 1997, replaced by the KZN Heritage Act of 2008.

Sober & Lonely Institute for Contemporary Art (SLICA)

The Sober & Lonely Institute for Contemporary Art (SLICA) was founded on 1 April 2011 and developed as an extension of Sober & Lonely’s artistic practice to create a platform of sharing and engagement between like-minded people and organisations.

Sober & Lonely Institute for Contemporary Art (SLICA) is a mobile platform, and hosts various events, suburban residencies, talks and exhibitions at different locations in Johannesburg, South Africa and the world.


Dala (‘to make/create’ in isiZulu) is an interdisciplinary creative collective that believes in the transformative role of creativity in building safer and more liveable cities. Dala emerged as a response to the growing need for a sustainable space for creative practitioners actively engaging in the production of art/architecture for social change in eThekwini (Durban).

artSPACE Durban (aSd)

artSPACE durban (aSd) offers a contemporary arts gallery adjacent to and in collaboration with dedicated artists’ studio spaces that offer tenancy to artists both local and foreign. artSPACE durban offers exhibition space, marketing, sales, promotion and venue hire facilities.

Durban University of Technology Gallery

The Durban University of Technology Gallery is located on the Steve Biko Campus, above the university library. Since 1982 the gallery has collected current and historical art that includes ancient and modern artifacts.

Cato Manor Heritage Centre

The Cato Manor Museum is an interactive museum which acts as a tribute to the spirit of defiance against the Durban System, which led to evictions, riots and dissent in the Cato Manor area for decades. The museum is a collection of photographs, artworks and other media that document the areas turbulent history.

Phansi Museum

The Phansi Museum was started in 2000 as a small private museum, and has since expanded to host one of the biggest and most spectacular collections of African arts and crafts in the world.

Port Natal Maritime Museum

The Port Natal Maritime Museum offers an insight into the influence of maritime culture on local life whilst also reflecting on the rigors and romance of lives lived at sea.

Amazing voyages, dramatic tales and old yet inspiring collections form the basis of an unforgettable experience with attractions including the multi-ton floating vessels. These exhibits are the steam tug “JR More” as well as the minesweeper “SAS Durban” and together with other exhibits like the “Ulundi” and “NCS Challenger” offer families and tour groups hours of exploration, fun and education.

Old House Museum

The site of the Old House Museum in Diakonia Street was donated to the city by George Churton Collins, built by the Town Council and opened in 1954. The museum features a recreation of the home of one of Durban’s most prominent families, the Robinsons. Sir John Robinson was Natal’s first Prime Minister, and also owned the Natal Mercury, Durban’s daily morning paper.

Bergtheil Museum

The Bertheil Museum is named after Jonas Bergtheil, and the museum is situated in the leafy suburb of Westville almost midway between Durban and Pinetown. Much of the museum is housed in Westville’s oldest building (c.1840) featuring massive stone walls and hand-hewn timber floorboards. Park like surrounds add an atmosphere of tranquility.

Durban Local History Museums Trust

The Durban Local History Museums Trust is a Trust established to assist the Durban Local History Museums in attaining its objectives. The Trust was established in 1997 and consists of not less than eight Trustees who receive no remuneration for their services which are considered to be charitable in nature.

KwaMuhle Museum

The KwaMuhle Museum in Durban has the unenviable reputation as once being one of the most hated buildings in the city when it was the former Department Of Native Affairs, an authoritative body responsible for enforcing punitive apartheid legislation.

Durban African Art Centre Association

The Durban African Art Centre Association provides thousands of unemployed artists and craftspeople with opportunities of self-employment and economic upliftment and the ability to earn a sustainable living. They reach out to some of the poorest communities in KwaZulu-Natal; the youth, rural women, the disabled, the unemployed and persons affected by HIV and AIDS. They have built a reputation for supplying specialized, high quality products hand crafted products. Every purchase made from the African Art Centre provides a sustainable income for more than 1 000 crafters supported by the Centre.

Greytown Museum

The Greytown Museum is situated in Scott Street between Durban and Voortrekker Streets in a building erected by Dr Birtwell in 1879 and sold to the Colonial Government as “The Residency” or “Drostdy” for the local magistrate.

Archives of the Archdiocese of Durban

The Archives of the Archdiocese of Durban archival collection contains papers and ecclesiastical records going back to the foundation of the diocese in 1852. Its purpose is to preserve the documents and make them readily available to the archbishop in office at the time and his officials.

Pietermaritzburg Archives Repository [NAB] - Pietermaritzburg

The first records were assembled under the part-time care of a government official in the early 1900’s. Accommodation was provided in 1936 on the present site. The repository was originally known as the Natal Archives Depot and was responsible for the custody of all official records in the province. After the establishment of a repository in Durban, responsibility for that region was assumed by the Durban office and records relevant to it (excluding the colonial period) were transferred to that office.

Durban Archives Repository [TBD] - Durban, KZN

Durban Archives Repository was established in 1990 as an Intermediate Depot and is now a fully fledged Archives Repository. The DAR serves Durban and the Coastal Region as follows: the North Coast east of the N2 from Sodwana Bay to Empangeni, and the coastal region between KwaZulu and the sea from Empangeni through Eshowe to and including Durban. The division between the Durban and Pietermaritzburg areas along the N3 is at Cato Ridge, which is included in the Pietermaritzburg region. South of Durban, the DAR covers the area between KwaZulu and the sea down to Port Edward.

James Hall Museum of Transport

The James Hall Museum of Transport in Pioneers’ Park in La Rochelle, Johannesburg, is a must for anyone keen on vehicles, history, or just meandering through a small sector of South Africa’s past. The museum is a treasure trove of information and displays dealing with over a hundred years of land transport in all its forms.

SA Military History Society (SAMHS)

The South African Military History Society (SAMHS) was formed in 1966 in Johannesburg by a core group of amateur historians with the purpose of studying and promoting awareness of military history. Since that time, it has grown to a Society of over 500 members primarily located in four branches, namely Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town and the Eastern Cape (Port Elizabeth), as well as members located throughout the world.

South African Archaeological Society (ArchSoc)

The South African Archaeological Society, also known as ArchSoc, is a registered non-profit organisation. Membership is open to anyone with an interest in archaeology. The Society promotes archaeological research in southern Africa and makes the results available to its members and the public through lectures, outings, tours and publications.

KZN a Photographic Record

KZN a Photographic Record is intended to be the single most comprehensive image based record of Historical, Heritage and Architectural sites in KZN in 2012 and 2013. The motivation for this work is to record our heritage that is rapidly being degraded due to neglect, willful destruction and thoughtless developments, particuarly in areas not under the watchful eye of Heritage agencies.

Durban Art Gallery

The Durban Art Gallery, now in its second century of existence, is home to collections that are as diverse as the eThekwini population.

South African Reserve Bank Art Collection

The art collection of the South African Reserve Bank is generally regarded as one of the premier corporate collections in the country, with its outstanding strength being landscape art produced between 1900 and 1970.

Durban in Motion Project

The Durban in Motion Project entails a virtual exhibition and digital archive which was conceived by Dale Peters of Digital Innovation of South Africa (DISA) and Paul Weinberg of The Centre for Curating the Archive at the University of Cape Town as a result of many discussions about the ‘digital moment’, preservation and making our historical photographic resources accessible.

Durban Botanic Gardens

The Durban Botanic Garden‘s s main plant collections are cycads, orchids, bromeliads and palms. The Garden also has a unique selection of trees from all over the world. There are more than eighty heritage trees which, in many instances, exceed one hundred years old and therefore have historic value.

KwaZulu-Natal Herbarium

The KZN Herbarium is a centre for the study of the indigenous plants of the eastern region of South Africa. This region includes three of the IUCN internationally recognised centres of plant diversity - namely the Maputaland, Pondoland and Drakensberg Centres.

South African Holocaust and Genocide Foundation

The South African Holocaust and Genocide Foundation is dedicated to creating a more caring and just society in which human rights and diversity are respected and valued. The various centres serve as a memorial to the six million Jews who were killed in the Holocaust and all victims of Nazism; to teach about the consequences of prejudice, racism and discrimination; and to promote an understanding of the dangers of indifference, apathy and silence.

Genealogical Society of South Africa (GSSA)

The Genealogical Society of South Africa (GSSA) was founded in 1964. Since then the society has made big strides and genealogy is firmly established as a dynamic and growing phenonmonon in the South African Society. Many people spend hours in researching their family and the GSSA is proudly supporting them, newcomers as well as experienced researchers. One of the goals of the GSSA, is to produce Family Registers and other Genealogical Products making it available to family researchers. They assist with preparing members’ research for printing or writing it to CD. The GSSA also act as a publisher to assist with marketing the completed product.

South African Institutional and other Private Art Collections

Many private institutions and companies, including museums, libraries, galleries, universities etc, hold vast art collections.

Buddhism in South Africa

The Buddhist traditions are represented in South Africa in many forms. Although the inherently introspective nature of Buddhism does not encourage census, adherents to these traditions are usually outspoken and supported by perhaps an even greater, though hidden number of sympathisers. Temples, centres and groups are common in the metropolitan areas and the country is thought to comprise the largest Buddhist community in Africa.

Herbariums and Botanical Gardens of South Africa

South Africa is one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world, after Indonesia and Brazil. Our country straddles 3 oceans, occupies only about 2% of the world’s land area, but is home to nearly: 10% of the world’s plants; 7% of the reptiles, birds and mammals and 15% of known coastal marine species. Our country is comprised of 9 biomes (unique vegetation landscapes), 3 of which have been declared global biodiversity hotspots.

A herbarium is a collection of dried plant specimens arranged in an accessible system. It is an important source of data used by researchers in many plant-related sciences and is most often used for taxonomic research. Herbaria are centres where plant taxa are studied.

Medicinal plant use in the Bredasdorp/Elim region of the Southern
Overberg in the Western Cape Province of South Africa

Audio-Visual Archival Collections

Audio-visual / non-book materials have a unique role to play in university libraries, national archives and other repositories of (and about) South Africa. Numerous audio-visual archival collections are held, not only in South Africa, but also abroad.

The History of South African Mission Stations: Museums and Archives

“Without doubt it is a far more costly thing to kill the (indigenous population) than to Christianise them.” (Warneck 1888)

European missionaries to southern Africa during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries played a strangely ambiguous role in the history and affairs of the region. On the one hand they were driven by a strong desire to genuinely serve humanity and bring about material and social changes which would improve its quality of life. On the other hand they were possessed of a moral self-righteousness which led them to make hasty and uninformed judgements upon indigenous mores, norms and values they were scarcely equipped to understand.

Visualising history and space in the Basel Mission Archives

Presbyterian Church of Southern Africa (PCSA)

The origins of the Presbyterian Church of Southern Africa are to be found in Cape Town and in the Baviaans River valley in the Eastern Province. In 1806 a Scottish regiment, the 93rd Southern Fencibles, was posted to the Cape of Good Hope. No chaplains were appointed to regiments at that time, and on their own initiative the men founded a Calvinist Society. In 1812 George Thom, a Scottish Presbyterian minister, arrived at the Cape, and from that society formed a congregation, mainly Presbyterian, although members of other denominations were enrolled.

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