University of Cape Town African Studies and Special Collections Library Project

On April 18, 2021, the JW Jagger Library at the University of Cape Town burned to the ground. The Jagger library building housed the university’s extensive and valuable African Studies collection, as well as the university’s Special Collections and Rare Books. While the extent of the loss of materials is unknown at this point (April 19, 2021), it will be very significant. The focus of these collections is in the area of African Studies, where archives and manuscript collections are all too often precarious, and the loss to that field of study will likely be immense.

Georgetown Global Irish Studies wishes to help our friends at the University of Cape Town in a focused and meaningful way by collecting as much information as possible about digital or paper copies of archival and rare materials from UCT held by Irish and Irish-interested researchers who have visited UCT libraries or had images copied for them there. We are reaching out to our contacts to see how Irish Studies scholars can help rebuild an important African Studies archive.

This project is a pilot, designed to gather information about available materials that may at some point in the future be collated and transferred to the University of Cape Town libraries once they have the capacity to rebuild a digital archive of lost materials (if that is their plan). Filling out the form below does not oblige you to share archival materials, nor place any burden of expectation on you at all. We appreciate your help in making as comprehensive an assessment as possible. We will coordinate our efforts with colleagues at the Archive and Public Culture Initiative at UCT: If you have any questions at all, please contact us at