The unassuming storeroom, a few twists and turns into the Special Collections Library, where the over 3,000 DVDs in the African Film Collection are stored under lock and key belie the value of its precious holdings.
Part of the African Studies Collection, these feature films, television shows and documentaries - many converted from stock film, VHS and Betamax format - is second to none to any other collection on the continent. "It's certainly the biggest film collection on Africa in Africa," says librarian Beverley Angus, who looks after it alongside senior librarian Sue Ogterop. Some pieces date back to the early 1950s, but run up to some of the latest cinematic releases. (Yes, even the much-maligned Leon Schuster.) It covers just about every conceivable topic of interest to academics and students alike. In fact, reports Ogterop, researchers from across the world regularly research material. And the film archive, compiled with Ogterop's film-archivist husband Freddy Ogterop, is still growing, as Ogterop (Sue) and Angus source films from other collections, donations, festivals and distributors. "You keep your ears open," says Ogterop. To view the catalogue, visit UCT Library page.
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