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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 no. 2.

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.

    Historical Papers is open for research.

    However we can only accommodate a limited number of 3 researchers in our Reading Room. Please make arrangements with us before your visit.
  • 'Hopefully it's all been digitised'

    This photo "Up in flames: The UCT Jagger Library Reading Room was destroyed and incalculable archives lost in a fire that tore through the surroundings last week" (David Harrison/M&G) has recently send shock waves across South Africa.

    The article was published by the Mail & Guardian newspaper, and highlights some of the challenges at South African libraries and archives.
  • 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 Africa's Copyright Bill is good for digital archives

    Libraries, archives, museums and galleries have finally been included in South Africa's contested new proposed copyright bill.

    Denise Nicholson is the Scholarly Communications Librarian at Wits University, and has been instrumental in the drafting of the Bill.

    This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.
  • Ernest Cole and his House of Bondage

    The Ernest Cole Family Trust has entrusted Historical Papers with the photographic archive of South African Photographer Ernest Cole. The images in his book "House of Bondage", published in 1967, brought the realities of Apartheid South Africa to the world.
  • 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.