Niche Areas

The focus areas for UWC Special Collections are: the history of the Western Cape, and the city of Cape Town and its people (including works dealing with Sub-Saharan Africa).

Collections

Africana collection

The term Africana refers to materials, such as books, documents, or art objects, relating to the history or culture of African peoples.  In the case of UWC the Africana Collection focuses on works dealing with sub-Saharan Africa. The collection concentrates on historical and heritage studies, arts, fauna and flora, biographies and theology.

Allen Isaacman Collection

This remarkable collection of books, ephemera, posters and serials represents the concentrated and systematic gathering of both currently available and scarce out of print publications for more than 40 years.  Primary concentration is on Mozambique. Strong coverage for other states in Southern Africa provides access to similar topical coverage in the social sciences and history.  The  collection is one of the finest of its type in private ownership in North America.  Publications either not held in the world’s great libraries, or else present in only three or fewer, underscore the depth of documentation on most aspects of Mozambique’s difficult history.  

Primary sources: government reports, contemporary accounts under colonial administration and Independence, 19th century descriptions and travel narratives, and documentation created and issued by FRELIMO. (40 leather-bound volumes of collected documents)

Secondary works: over 2000 titles. Monographs in Portuguese, English, literary works, entire series of Heinemann African Social History and Ohio University New African History.

District Six Collection

In 1965, the apartheid government swooped on District Six, Cape Town, forcibly removing its occupants and declaring the area a “whites-only” zone, the rich fabric of an impoverished but vibrant community was torn to shreds. The District Six Collection provides a collection of historical materials and books on studies of District Six.

Joseph Rotblat Collection

Prof. Joseph Rotblat was a nuclear physicist, who worked on the Manhattan Project, where the nuclear bombs were developed that were later dropped on Japan. He left this project before its completion as a matter of conscience when he discovered that the Germans during World War II were unable to make the bombs and that the Americans were intending the bombs for use on Japan. This experience had a lasting effect on him and he began to work tirelessly for nuclear disarmament and the use of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes only.

With Albert Einstein and Bertrand Russell he founded a group called Pugwash, named after the town in Canada where the group held its first conference. The group mainly included nuclear scientists around the world who were all concerned about nuclear weapons and their staggering increase and testing during the Cold War. Pugwash members held workshops, conferences and meetings often influencing governments behind the scenes to re-orient their foreign and nuclear policies. For his work, Prof. Rotblat and Pugwash were jointly awarded the Nobel PeaProf. Joseph Rotblat was a nuclear physicist, who worked on the Manhattan Project, where the nuclear bombs were developed that were later dropped on Japan. He left this project before its completion as a matter of conscience when he discovered that the Germans during World War II were unable to make the bombs and that the Americans were intending the bombs for use on Japan. This experience had a lasting effect on him and he began to work tirelessly for nuclear disarmament and the use of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes only.

With Albert Einstein and Bertrand Russell he founded a group called Pugwash, named after the town in Canada where the group held its first conference. The group mainly included nuclear scientists around the world who were all concerned about nuclear weapons and their staggering increase and testing during the Cold War. Pugwash members held workshops, conferences and meetings often influencing governments behind the scenes to re-orient their foreign and nuclear policies. For his work, Prof. Rotblat and Pugwash were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1995.

There are Pugwash branches in many countries around the world and also in SA. I was fortunate to be introduced to the group by my lecturer during my M studies in 1999 and as a result became involved in Pugwash activities to promote social responsibility in Science and world affairs. When I was studying in the UK, I was co opted onto the British Pugwash group’s executive committee and came to know Prof. Rotblat quite well. It is because of this connection that I was contacted by the Pugwash office in London after Prof. Rotblat’s death. His main archives are at the Churchill Archive Centre at the University of Cambridge and most of his other books have been donated to Bradford University. The Pugwash London group wanted to donate the remaining books from Prof. Rotblat’s library to UWC. The request was also send to Archbishop Tutu. As a fellow Nobel Peace Prize winner, the two great men knew each other and Archbishop Tutu immediately agreed. Prof. Stan Ridge, vice rector at the time, also recognised the value of the donation and accepted it on UWC’s behalf.

The Joseph Rotblat Collection consists of 400 books and extensive runs of 15 journal titles: nuclear physics

Vernon February Collection

Prof Vernon February (1938 – 2002) was born in Somerset West. In 1963 he went into exile in the Netherlands and spent 33 years as senior researcher at the African Studies Centre in Leiden. He published books and articles in the field of African languages and literature, the literature from the Dutch Caribbean (Surinam and the Antilles) as well as Afrikaans literature. He was also a poet and storyteller and activist in the anti-apartheid movement in the Netherlands. He became extra-ordinary professor in the department of Afrikaans & Nederlands at the University of the Western Cape in 1991.

The Vernon February collection is comprised of two parts: his personal library and some manuscripts.
The Library collection extends to 75 shelves of books that reflect his own research interest: African, African Diaspora and South African languages and literatures, particularly Afrikaans.  Around a quarter of the collection are well-known literary works; the remainder might be described as a specialist collection, providing a rich depth of material that may no longer be easily obtainable.  Some titles may be the only copies in the country.

 Keith Gottschalk Collection

Keith Gottschalk served as Head of Department (2004-2006), when he also hosted the SA Association of Political Studies biennial conference. His forty scholarly publications are mostly on South African political dynamics. His current research and publications focus on the African Union family or organizations and African integration, and on space policy for developing countries. Keith has also published a poetry collection Emergency Poems plus over one hundred poems in literary journals. Keith is the Vice-President of the UWC Convocation, Chair of the Friends of the UWC Library and an Exco member of the South African Space Association.

Keith is an Extraordinary Senior Lecturer in the Political Sciences department.

Keith Gottschalk donated an extensive collection of local newspaper clippings related to political developments from the 1970s onwards.