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Bell Heritage Trust
Housed in the University of Cape Town’s Special Collections are the paintings of Charles Davidson Bell (1813 – 1882). This collection is the property of The John and Charles Bell Heritage Trust, which was established in 1975 by Professor Charles Manning, a grandson of Charles Davidson Bell by his second wife, Helena Krynauw.
Black Sash Collection
The Black Sash was a non-violent white women's resistance organisation in South Africa. It was founded by Jean Sinclair in 1955. The organisation initially campaigned against the removal of mixed race voters.
Bolus Herbarium Collection
In the early 1900s, two artists, Mary Page and Beatrice Carter, were employed by the Bolus Herbarium to illustrate a hugely diverse family of succulent plants, which are almost endemic to Southern Africa. Their delicate, precise and vividly coloured botanical drawings are now freely accessible online. These are illustrations of species of the plant family Aizoaceae (Vygies).
Community Arts Project
The Community Arts Project (CAP) was a public art centre that was based in Cape Town from 1977 until its demise in 2008. It played a crucial role in Cape Town’s cultural life, particularly in the years of resistance to and transition from apartheid. Community art centres provided black artists with access to training, resources, materials and networks during a time when apartheid barred them from mainstream arts education institutions in the country. They also provided a space for non-racial connectivity in the arts at the height of apartheid.
Ernst Westphal: San Languages
Westphal was Professor of African Languages at UCT between 1962 and 1984, and is best known for his contributions to the studies of non-Bantu click languages, lumped together under a misleading cover term ‘Khoisan’ by other scholars. The Westphal sound files are precious because they include recordings of some languages, which are no longer spoken and of which there is no written record.
Human Anatomy Archive
After 70 years in a remote storeroom in the UCT Medical School, the records of the Anatomy division are now available online. The collection focuses on the correspondence and research of three trailblazing South African physical anthropologists.
Robert Jacob Gordon Journal Archive
This collection was created to give scholars and interested public access to the raw data of Robert Jacob Gordon’s Journal.Since few people have the opportunity to travel to the Brenthurst Library in Johannesburg to view the original documents, we have reproduced the first transcription of the original Dutch. We have also included Patrick Cullinan’s translation of the Journal, which was produced from a photographic copy made while the diary was still in the Stafford County Library, U.K., before it was acquired by the Brenthurst Library in 1979. No attempt has been made at providing the reader with comments on places, people or events mentioned by Gordon. The reader should consult Raper & Boucher (1988) for such comment. Equally, to situate Gordon’s Journal within its time-frame, the reader is encouraged to refer to Cullinan (1992) for a full biography. Gordon drew, or had drawn, 456 sketches in full colour, which were meant to accompany his journal. Of these, 157 have appeared in various forms in Raper & Boucher (1988), Cullinan (1992), Rookmaaker (1979) and Forbes (1965). The drawings are owned by the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, who retain full copyright for publication. Access them here.
Sax Appeal Covers
The magazine covers showcase the many changes made to UCT RAG's largest contributor since the first edition, published in 1933, "when men were men and women were so loose they rattled", according to a 1940s SAX Appeal editor. Selling at one shilling and weighing in at 32 pages, the 1933 edition featured cartoons, limericks, an advert for electricity - when many Capetonians were yet to learn the benefits of an electrified city - and an advert for Springbok cigarettes; which, true to the times, featured a confident doctor smoking the product before operating on a scantily-clad woman. Established as a beacon of free speech, the magazine's penchant for ruffling feathers has resulted in several instances of controversy, and two outright bannings, the first leading to the magazine's dissolution for several years.
Special Collections Maps
Special Collections has a significant map collection, covering the whole African continent, and including rare and valuable items as well as a variety of atlases. Much of the collection was assembled by the first professor of Geography at UCT, Professor William Talbot.
Tony Grogan cartoons
Tony Grogan is a cartoonist, illustrator and artist living in Cape Town.
Varsity
VARSITY is the official student newspaper of the University of Cape Town, since 1942. The newspaper is produced by a collective of dedicated and proactive UCT students, who aim to create an informative and entertaining newspaper covering every aspect of student life, from academics and sports to student political activism and entertainment.
William and Yvonne Jacobson Digital Africana Program at UCT
The William and Yvonne Jacobson Digital Africana Program is a collaborative initiative between the University of Cape Town and Stanford University, whereby a selection of the African historical maps held in UCT Libraries are digitised and made available on the Maps of Africa site as well as on the UCT Libraries’ own website and similarly, digitised maps from the Stanford University collection shall be accessible via the UCT Libraries’ discovery platform.
‡Khomani San - Hugh Brody
The ǂKhomani San are the first people of the southern Kalahari. They lived as hunters and gatherers in the immense desert in the northwest corner of South Africa. For them, it was a land rich in wildlife, plants, trees, great sand dunes and dry riverbeds. When the ǂKhomani San share their history, they tell a story of dispossession from their lands, erasure of their way of life, and disappearance of their language. To speak of their past is to search in memory for all that was taken from them in the colonial, apartheid and post-apartheid era. But they also tell a story of reclamation and recovery of lands, language and even of memory itself. They tell a story of struggle to emerge from the losses of the past, to put in place a new story.

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