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Colonial states and African societies: South Africa

Resources for the study of African colonial history including Belgian, British, and French colonial history.

South Africa


Nineteenth Century collections online 
See Europe and Africa: Commerce, Christianity, Civilization
Pub. by [Farmington Hills, Mich.] : Gale Cengage Learning.

South Africa content includes:

Despatches from U.S. Consuls in Cape Town, Cape Colony, 1800-1906

Despatches from U.S. Consuls in Pretoria, The Transvaal, 1898-1906

Publications of the Cape Colony

Publications of the Natal Colony

Yale Divinity School Periodicals on Africa

  • The Gambia-Pongas News
  • Heart of Africa Mission
  • The Livingstonia News
  • Madagascar Mission Magazine
  • The New Africa
  • On Trek South Africa General Mission
  • The South African Church Weekly Newspaper
  • The South African Pioneer
  • Transvaal & Southern-Rhodesia



Aluka: Struggles for Freedom in Southern Africa
Primary sources on the liberation of Southern Africa. Mainly on Angola, Botswana, M
ozambique, South Africa, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.  Some South Africa content in Aluka.

Some South Africa content in Aluka:

Allard K. Lowenstein

American Committee on Africa

Anti-Apartheid Movement in Britain

books and pamphlets

Daniel Magaziner on the Black Consciousness Movement (South Africa)

selected publications from the Karis-Gerhart Collection of South African Political Materials, 1964 1990

India and South Africa

Indian Opinion - Durban newspaper estab. by Mahatma Gandhi 

interviews for the series, From Protest to Challenge: A Documentary History of African Politics in South Africa.

Liberal Opinion (1961-1968) - publication of Liberal Party of South Africa

Liberation Support Movement

 National English Literary Museum literary works

National Union of South African Students (NUSAS)

Netherlands Institute For Southern Africa

New Age - Cape Town newspaper, editors include Govan Mbeki and Ruth First

Nordic Africa Institute, National Liberation in Southern Africa

Oral histories

Periodicals: includes ANC journals - Amandla-Matla, Dawn, Mayibuye, Phakamani, Rixaka, Sechaba; Pan Africanist Congress (PAC): Africanist News and Views; South African Communist Party: Umsebenzi and African Communist, South African labour journals and many more organizations

Pieter Boersma Photograph Collection, 194 objects

Raymond Suttner Collection interviews

Rivonia Trial Papers

South Africa Department of Foreign Affairs documents

South Africa Memorial Lectures

South African Commissions of Inquiry

South African Communist Party

South African Democracy Education Trust (SADET)‌ interviews

South African History Archive Posters

South African Institute of Race Relations Annual Reports

South African legislation

Southern Africa Magazine (New York)

South African women

Southern Africa Labour & Development Research Unit (SALDR) news clippings 1975-2000

The Study Project on Christianity in Apartheid Society

Theses completed in South Africa - from University of Cape Town

United Democratic Front

United Nations Centre against Apartheid, Notes and Documents

United Nations Special Committee against Apartheid Reports

United States Congressional Hearings

Unity Movement of South Africa

World Council of Churches Programme to Combat Racism



Apartheid South Africa 1948-1980
British Colonial, Foreign and Commonwealth Office documents and maps on apartheid South Africa. From Adam Matthew, Archives Direct.

British government documents and maps.  Letters, diplomatic dispatches, reports, trial papers, activists’ biographies and first-hand accounts of events.  From the Foreign, Colonial, Dominion and Foreign and Commonwealth Offices.

Maps include Bantu Areas and the Protectorates, Bantu Ethnic Distribution, Black Homelands, Railroads and Airports, South Africa Army Commands.

Has the essay Awkward Relations: Apartheid and the British Response, 1948-1980, by Colin Bundy.



Apartheid through the eyes of South African political parties, 1948-1994
Wakefield, U.K. : British Online Archives

Papers of the African National Congress (ANC), 1919-1994
Papers from the National Party and other pro-Apartheid parties, 1944-1986
Papers from anti-Apartheid parties, 1934-1987
- includes Labour Party of South Africa, Pan Africanist Congress of Azania, Progressive Party, United Democratic Front and more
Papers from independent candidates, 1970-1987 - Ben Dekker; Louis Kreiner; Denis Worral

The original documents are in the University of London. Institute of Commonwealth Studies and the Senate House Library..

Hoover Library has the same documents on microfiche -
Commonwealth political ephemera from the institute of Commenwealth Studies, University of London [microform] : Phase I, Africa : Part 1, South Africa
West Yorkshire, Eng. : Altair Publishing, c1990.
189 microfiches ; 11 x 15 cm.
The microfiche documents are reproduced in a different order, alphabetically by organization title.

The Center for Research Libraries has the same microfiche collection as Hoover,

and an online guide to the microfiche 
Commonwealth political ephemera from the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London . Phase I, Africa. Part 1, South Africa : a guide and finding list to the microfiche edition


Carter-Karis collection [microform] : [documents on South African politics from 1882 to 1964
71 microfilm reels ; 35 mm.
Collected by Gwendolyn M. Carter and Thomas Karis].
Hoover Library  DT763 .C35 MFILM

See inventory to the microfilm -  
South African political materials : a catalogue of the Carter-Karis Collection.
Bloomington, Indiana : South African Research Archives Project. xix, 811 p. 
Copies in Green Library and Hoover Library.
The Center for Research Libraries has digitized the catalogue. 835 pages

The database, Aluka has put selected publications online. 
See -   Karis-Gerhart Collection of South African Political Materials, 1964–1990.


Karis-Gerhart collection : from protest to challenge, 1964-1990
Consists of primary source documents compiled by Thomas Karis and Gail M. Gerhart in the process of writing vols. 5-7 of: From protest to challenge : a documentary history of African Politics in South Africa, 1882-1990.
101 microfilm reels ; 35 mm.
At the Center for Research Libraries. Available on Interlibrary Loan to Stanford users.

Online guide to the collection. See Full text PDF at


Church Missionary Society Archive
Adam Matthew online resource

South Africa contents date from 1836-1843.


Colonial Africa in Official Statistics (also called Blue Books)
Cape of Good Hope 1821-1909.
Publisher: British Online Archives


Index to the manuscript annexures and printed papers of the House of Assembly, including Select Committee reports and bills and also to principal motions and resolutions and commission reports, 1910-1961
[Cape Town], 1963.
631 p. tables 25 cm.


South Africa in records from colonial missionaries, 1819-1900

East Ardsley, Wakefield, United Kingdom : Microform Academic Publishers, [2013]

Database of handwritten documents from the Archives of the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. The original Archives are housed at the Bodleian Library, Oxford University.


South Africa : a collection of miscellaneous documents, 1902-1963

[Stanford, CA] : Stanford University Photographic Department, [1967?].
15 reels
Hoover Library
DT779 .S726 MFILM

The Center for Research Libraries has put the Index online 

There are 2 print copies of the Index at Stanford.
Index to "South Africa; a collection of miscellaneous documents, 1902-1963," on microfilm
[Stanford, Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, 1963]
86 leaves
SAL 1/2
Hoover Library


National Library of South Africa. Digital Collections

Digitized primary sources. 
Examples --
Newspapers - African Leader, Amanzimtoti Observer, Bantu World, Basutoland News, Cape Argus, Cape Indian
Journals - Burlesque (weekly family & society)
Posters - Political, World War II, Shipping Lines
Postcards - Cape Town
Bleek Collection - African languages, plants


 South African Native Affairs Commission and Associated Items

Chairman: Sir Godfrey Lagden. "The volumes of evidence give some access to the African voice which is so often silent or simply absent in official documents. The report, published in February 1905, advocated, amongst other things, for territorial and political separation along racial grounds, the industrial and manual education (as opposed to literary education) of African peoples, and the importance of Christianity."  Large files, may take a some time to download. Hosted at the University of Cape Town.


East India Company. 1600-1947
Marlborough, Wiltshire, UK : Adam Matthew Digital
Documents are handwritten, in cursive. Archives of the East India Company from the India Office Records held by the British Library. Has letters from the Cape of Good Hope agents to the East India Company and copies of the agents’ own correspondence.The letters report on business transacted at the Cape on behalf of the Company. Includes a chronology, essays.

From the Chronology:

1613 Gabriel Towerson returns from India in command of the Hector, bringing with him the first South African to visit Britain, a man called Coree who he had abducted

1615 The East India Company creates the country's first penal colony, and also the first settler colony in South Africa, when it drops off prisoners from Newgate prison at Table Bay.

1654 Slaves from India arrive in the South African Cape.


Geber, Jill Louise. “The East India Company and Southern Africa: A Guide to the Archives of the East India Company and the Board of Control, 1600-1858.” ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 1998. University of London, Ph.D. thesis.
Can be downloaded for free from the British Library. Ethos e-theses online service.  Need to  register (free) and create a password. See the FAQ

 Five Hundred Year Archive
 Large database of primary and secondary sources for Southern African history during "the five hundred years before European colonialism." Based at the History Department, University of Cape Town.


South African Medical Journal
Vol. 1, 1884 - Vol. 92, 2002.  not complete
South African Medical Journal   Open Access Sabinet
Volume 15 Issue 1 Jan 1917 - Volume 111 Issue 8 Aug 2021   not complete, for ex. lacks Vol. 15, Nos. 2, 3, 4, 6.


Couzens, Tim
History of the black press in South Africa 1836-1960

[Johannesburg] : University of the Witwatersrand, African Studies Institute, 1984
48 leaves.

Switzer, Les
The Black Press in South Africa and Lesotho, a descriptive  bibliographic guide to African Coloured and Indian newspapers, newsletters and magazines 1836-1976.
Boston: G. K. Hall, 1979.   327 p.

Green Library
Hoover Library


South African Outlook (Lovedale, South Africa)
Carried writings of Sol Plaatje, John Tengo Jabavu, John Dube, A. C. Jordan and others.

Print issues at Stanford:
Hoover : 1920-1996
Green Library, SAL3:  called New South African Outlook, 1999-2011

Online issues:

South African Outlook
Newsbank. World Newspaper Archive

South African Outlook
1922-1928, Vols 52-28
Part of the Gale Collection, 19th Century Collections Online.

South African Outlook
1922-1946.  Includes its predecessor, Kaffir Express, 1870-1934
Center for Research Libraries

Stanford has a predecessor of South African Outlook, The Christian Express online.
Christian Express, 1870-1922
Lovedale, South Africa : Lovedale Institution Press
Newsbank World Newspaper Archive

The National Library of South Africa
has free online some issues of Christian Express (The), 1876-1884