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Welcome to our platform for Research and Community Engagement! 

We are one of the most comprehensive public archives in Southern Africa, with over 3400 collections from NGOs, trade unions, political parties, women's organisations, church bodies, human rights activists and political trials. Many of the photographs, press clippings, oral interviews, and documents, have been digitised and can be accessed on our digital platform 'AtoM', an acronymn for Access to MemoryMore

In 2019 Historical Papers was part of an initiative launching ‘A People's Guide to Archives in South Africa’, which can be accessed through the Historical Papers NEWS item.

Download FOSATU bookDownload IntroductionDownload Chapter 1Download Chapter 2Download Chapter 3Download Chapter 4 On the 17 February 2011 Historical Papers and Museum Africa jointly held the opening of the FOSATU exhibition and the book launch of 'The future is in the Hands of the Workers' A History of FOSATU'. You can now download the book for FREE.
NEWS
  • LAUNCH of A People's Guide to Archives in South Africa

    How can civil society navigate the many obstacles of obtaining access to archives in South Africa? Who has access to archives? What does the Right to Know, being the Right to Information mean for the citizen?
    These and other questions will be address by a web based Guide to the Archives in South Africa. The Guide will be made available on the websites of leading organisations, particularly from the R2K Network, archives and NGOs.
  • South African Spoken Word Conversion Project

    Building African Digital Research Content:

    In July 2011 the Carnegie Corporation of New York generously provided funding for the digitsation of the 4000 analogue audio tapes which are under the custodianship of Historical Papers. This project has ensured that unique, previously hard-to-find information resources are preserved and are made widely accessible.
    See also the Guide to digitised AudioVisual material, on our Homepage.

  • In the Doldrums: Archival Institutions in South Africa

    By Michele Pickover,
    Former Principal Curator: Historical Papers Research Archive


    "Archives are fundamentally political in nature and as such are mediated sites of power, ideology and memory..."
  • Declaration on Archives in 39 languages

    Adopted by the UNESCO on the 10th November 2011, in Papiamentu, the Declaration is an important step for the understanding and awareness of archives and a powerful, succinct statement of the relevance of archives in modern society.
  • Non-Racial Sports History Project, Transvaal

    An important part of our history that has seriously been neglected is non-racial sports. This was a crucial facet of the anti-apartheid struggle and, curcially, was probably the most effective arena of independent and community-based sports in black communities. Moreover, non-racial sports was intrinsically linked to communities and their schools, and depended heavily on voluntarism for its enduring success.

    This project aims to recover, record, preserve and popularize this rich and multi-faceted history, which is reflected in the items of the collection which was now been deposited at Historical Papers.
  • Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), records
    These records include documents, photographs and publications relating to the formation of the PAC and the trial of Robert Sobukwe and other leaders of the PAC in 1960.