Library losses will be deeply felt across our communities - UCT

The team at UCT Libraries has confirmed that the archival and published print collections kept within the Reading Room were consumed by the flames.

Inside UCT's Jagger Reading Room that was gutted by a fire on 18 April 2021. Picture: Shamiela Fisher/Eyewitness News.

CAPE TOWN - The University of Cape Town (UCT) is feeling the devastation of the loss of significant institutional assets which were lost in a wildfire.

The wildfire that broke out on the slopes of Table Mountain on Sunday left a trail of destruction.

At UCT, the Jagger Reading Room was destroyed, amongst other damage to buildings.

The team at UCT Libraries has confirmed that the archival and published print collections kept within the Reading Room were consumed by the flames.

These included the vast majority of the African Studies Published Print Collection - approximately 70,000 items - and the entire African Studies Film Collection on DVD, about 3,500.

Other noteworthy losses included all the UCT calendars, some heavily used government publications from South Africa and the continent, as well as manuscripts and archives kept in the Reading Room for processing or digitisation.

The UCT's Elijah Moholola: "This was a very sad day for UCT and UCT Libraries. This loss will be felt deeply across our communities as the libraries are so critical to all of us."

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