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Archive for Contemporary Affairs (ARCA)

Page history last edited by jmm97@cam.ac.uk 12 years, 6 months ago Saved with comment

Archive for Contemporary Affairs (ARCA)

Date of tip: 18 April 2011

Source: Jamie Miller jmm97@cam.ac.uk


ARCA is located at the University of the Orange Free State in Bloemfontein. The ARCA was established in the mid-1980s as a repository for the private papers of South Africa‚Äôs eminent public figures. In this respect, it compares very favourably with other states such as the US, where private papers are frequently deposited in university libraries scattered across the country. This one-stop-shop, for instance, allows the researcher to access the private papers of all manner of politicians, from John Vorster to P. W. Botha (a list is available by emailing Huibre Lombard at huibre@ufs.co.za; the website is currently not working). Two points should be noted, however. First, the collections of private papers often consist overwhelmingly of newspaper clippings, fan mail, and the like; memoranda, personal reflections, and official correspondence may well be less bountiful than hoped. However, there are often full transcripts of public speeches, which may prove useful. Second, the vast majority of political figures during the apartheid era spoke Afrikaans as their mother tongue. The majority of records - and almost all written by the politician themselves - will therefore be in Afrikaans, and not in English.


Extensive renovations were conducted in 2010, and the result is an accessible and pleasant working area. The building is located in the middle of the not unpleasant university campus, just five minutes walk from a myriad of affordable food options. Bloemfontein is a hub of out of town business, so one will be inundated with signs all along the main road (Nelson Mandela Drive) offering bed and breakfast stays for around R300 a night.


Contact Person: Esta Jones

Email: jonese@ufs.co.za

Address: University of the Orange Free State Campus, Argief vir Eietydse Geskiedenis building


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