Muckleneuk Tours

Guided tours available by appointment

Monday - Friday

Contact Yandisa Maquthu
Phone: (031) 260 1722
           (031) 207 3432

Entrance: R20

Muckleneuk House and Garden

Muckleneuk Garden

 The garden constitutes a mass of exotic and indigenous plants, fascinating to both amateur gardeners and professional botanists. Killie Campbell designed the layout of the garden and was an enthusiastic gardener all her life. She was helped by horticulturist William Poulton, who is remembered for his pioneering work in the hybridisation of bougainvilleas.


The Garden at Muckleneuk: A History

By Sue Lind Holmes

Staff List

Principal Librarian- Head of Special Collections Mr Senzo Mkhize 031-260 1710
Assistant Administration Officer Ms Thabile Xulu

Soft-sculpture Dolls

Ingenious tableaux of Zulu life

On display in the Jo Thorpe Collection are a number of soft-sculpture dolls made by traditional Zulu women from Ndwedwe in KwaZulu-Natal for sale to tourists and art-collectors. These delightful works depict scenes from the cultural life of the women who make them.

Thembi Mchunu is the initiator of this craft, having sold her first doll to Jo Thorpe, Director of Durban's African Art Centre in 1982. Like her mother before her, Thembi would make beadwork for tourists. "One day we came to Jo, the shop was full, we all had bead(work), the trouble was that Jo could not buy all these beads which were one and the same type... It was then that I remembered, 'Oh! when we were young we were playing with dolls, what if I make one?'... I made one and I put clothes on it. I took it to Jo, she loved it, she wanted more dolls and I made them... "1

An item of dress or a work of art?

Museums and galleries usually view ethnic beadwork in one of two ways: the anthropological perspective reveals the item's function and the wearer's cultural status and values, while the aesthetic evaluation of the piece appraises quality of workmanship, intricacies of technique and artistry of colour and pattern choice. Recent approaches tend to combine both orientations and perhaps give the closest approximation to the maker's intent and relative success in communicating it.

Such an integrative approach can be applied to MaMgwamanda Mdluli's beaded cape (utshodo) thereby kindling an appreciation of her as artist, individual and traditionalist Zulu woman. MaMgwamanda is the third wife of Inkosi (Chief) Mdluli from Emkhambathini in the Ndwedwe district of KwaZulu-Natal. She made the cape for her wedding; the style is typical of contemporary beadwork in the area and known locally as "Umkhambathi", indicating the origins of the wearer, its multiple colours referring to the fertility of both area and woman.

Barbara Tyrrell and the Campbell Collections

A rewarding relationship

Killie Campbell and Barbara Tyrrell Barbara Tyrrell is known internationally for her detailed costume studies of the traditional dress of the indigenous peoples of southern Africa.

Barbara Eleanor Harcourt Tyrrell was born on March 15th 1912 in Durban. Her father, who died while she was a small child, had occupied the post of assistant magistrate and later interpreter in the Department of Native Affairs and had been stationed in various Natal towns, his final posting being to Eshowe, Zululand. Tyrrell's grandfather was Frederick Fynney, interpreter and companion to the Zulu king Cetshwayo during the latter's visit to Queen Victoria in 1882.1

Killie Campbell and Barbara Tyrrell

Jo Thorpe and a generation of African Artists

Jo Thorpe was associated with the African Art Centre in Durban for some thirty years. She joined the staff of the Natal Region of the South African Institute of Race Relations in 1959. While working for the Institute, she came across a box of beautifully crafted beadwork from Nongoma, Zululand, which had been left over from a fete held the previous year. This was to be the small beginning of what became the African Art Centre in 1963. In 1984 the Centre split from the Institute of Race Relations to become an autonomous, self-supporting development project.
The stated aims of this project were:

To encourage and promote the traditional skills of African people and to help the transition from traditional to contemporary expression; to provide incentives for artists and craftsmen; to assist self-help projects financially by promoting and marketing art and craft; and to help artists and craftsmen by sponsoring training in skills and by holding exhibitions.1

Jo Thorpe was singularly successful in the accomplishment of these aims. Even after her retirement in 1991 she remained committed to the Centre as a consultant while also compiling a history of the Centre called It's never too early: African Art and Craft in KwaZulu-Natal 1960-1990, published by the Centre for Social and Development Studies of the University of Natal in 1994. Thorpe died on 18 February 1995 at the age of 74.

Historical artwork

Historical artwork, often termed africana art, comprises mainly 19th century topographical artworks. Many are lithographic and engraved plate-illustrations from published works by traveller-artists who recorded their fascinating 'discoveries' of indigenous culture, fauna and flora.

WCP Burchell's Kora

The Englishman, William Burchell, for instance, set out on his Cape travels in June 1811, returning in 1815 with some 500 drawings to illustrate his two-volume account,

Travels in the Interior of Southern Africa (London: Longman, Hurst and Co. 1822- 4).

Of these field sketches he says:

"Every additional sketch was, I considered, a triumph over oblivion, and a powerful assistant to recollection." 1

Inventory of KCAL Microfilm holdings

Below is an index of microfilm holdings at the Killie Campbell Africana Library. The microfilm collections have been categorised in the following sections:

Other publications


Manuscript Collections on Microfilm in the Killie Campbell Africana Library

(*)Indicates that we also have some hard copy material relating to these Collections
(+) In process

Killie Campbell: Biographical Essay

A dedicated collector of South African history: Dr Killie Campbell

Killie in the fiftiesMargaret Roach Campbell, or Killie Campbell, as she was later known, was born at Mount Edgecombe on 9 September 1881, the second of four children of the Natal senator and sugar magnate, Sir Marshall Campbell. She was educated at St. Anne's Diocesan College in Natal and at St. Leonard's School in Scotland where, in her own, words, she acquired, "an enthusiasm for History, and a love of historical places." 1


Subscribe to Campbell Collections RSS