‘A great place’
For nearly 30 years, since my student days, I have used the African Studies library and Rare Books Collections in all their displacements as the larger library infrastructure changed and the interiors renovated.
I have been a fan of the fantastic professionals that have maintained high standards and efficient service to users like me over the years. I went overseas for six years and came back to more-or-less the same professionals who just continued to quietly serve. It was always my favourite place at UCT, where one goes to work on materials not available in the open stacks, use all sorts of local government and private collections, or just work on one’s laptop – always in a serious but almost aristocratic setting. After all, some of the oddest things you want to check or read are delivered to your desk.
It was a great place when needing to escape students or colleagues, only to meet other colleagues, sometimes from other universities or overseas, or whom one had not seen for what often appeared to be decades, sitting with files or books. A hello then perhaps an exit for a bit of academic gossip to respect the silence of the reading room. On a few occasions when I had the strange request to have my photograph taken or a film clip made of me at the university, I always opted for this venue, and for the past few days I have been going through whatever of these images I can recall daily to remind myself of that now vanished space.
Associate Professor Shamil Jeppie
Department of Historical Studies
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