Killie Campbell Africana Library

Killie in her library c1950
Killie in her library c1950

The Killie Campbell Africana Library 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.

Killie and her father Sir Marshall organized the first Zulu History competition in 1912, and this material was added to with further competitions in 1942 and 1950. The library had the fortune of having as research fellow one of the province's eminent historians, Professor Jeff Guy who worked on publications to coincide with the centenary of the Bhambatha Rebellion of 1906, ran a lecture series The Public Face of African Scholarship in 2007, and ran a research project Tradition, Authority and Power (TAP) from the Campbell Collections.

Although the library contains material dealing with Southern Africa in general, its specific focus is the KwaZulu-Natal region.

The Book Collection (search with iCatalogue) specialises in areas that include early exploration and travel in Africa, Christian missions, education, and hunting, which broadens out into conservation. Among the early publications in the library, dating from the sixteenth century, are accounts by survivors of shipwrecks along the eastern seaboard, which constitute an important source of information about the early ethno-history of south-eastern Africa. Other areas of special focus are the Anglo-Zulu War; the South African (Anglo-Boer) War (1899 - 1902); the 1906 uprising in Natal; Zulu art and craft in the context of traditional and modern Zulu society; the period of Nationalist government in South Africa, and the various organizations which resisted apartheid.

The Manuscripts Collection is well known as an important source on the early history of contact between the Nguni-speaking people of the KwaZulu Natal region and the British colonists. The ensuing interaction of the two societies, including the activities of peasant farmers, chiefs, traders, missionaries, colonial farmers and armies, is documented in various collections held by the library. In addition to a variety of documents relating to the two major nineteenth-century regional wars mentioned above, other noteworthy collections include records of educational institutions, farmers' associations, sporting bodies, various commercial undertakings and welfare and conservation organisations. Several collections reflect various facets of the political strife of the post-1948 era. The Manuscripts Collection presently comprises nearly 300 sorted collections and several hundred collections still being processed.

As well as the above resources, the library contains pamphlets, maps, journals, audio and video tapes and photographs and pre-Union government publications. There is also an extensive collection of newspapers, many of which were published in the nineteenth century. Some are available in hard copy and some in Microfilm. An almost complete run of Indian Opinion is one of the important collections in the newspaper holdings.

Click here to consult the Killie Campbell Africana Library Catalogue
on the University of KwaZulu-Natal Library Catalogue system - iCatalogue
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