A conversation with the UCT’s Dr. Divine Fuh on the impact of the recently destroyed archives.
Last weekend, a fire destroyed part of the university’s library. In addition to some historic buildings, part of the precious collection was lost.
The library contains tens of thousands of valuable documents, books, sound recordings and more. This includes an impressive collection of African sources, including some from the 16th century. The collection includes 65 000 books, 26 000 pamphlets, 3 000 African films and 20 000 other audiovisual documents. Sound recordings of various indigenous languages are particularly rare.
There is a huge sense of dismay in the university community, in South Africa and around the world. While the exact state of loss is being established, numerous solidarity actions are being rolled out.
As part of our Studio ZAM programme, we will discuss the drama during an online lunch meeting with Dr Divine Fuh, social anthropologist and director of HUMA, the Institute for Humanities in Africa at UCT. Dr. Fuh grew up in Cameroon and has been a visiting fellow at the Africa Study Centre in Leiden. He is also the founder of Langa Research and Publishing and former chairman of the board of the African Book Collective.
How did Dr Fuh experience the drama? What was lost and what is the significance of the collection? How is the academic community at UCT responding to the events? What should be done to minimise the damage?
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