The library collections are particularly strong for this region. Special collections providing regional coverage include the Ronald Chilcote collection and the Immanuel Wallerstein collection, which also contains publications of liberation groups in Zimbabwe (Rhodesia), Namibia (South West Africa), and South Africa.
The African revolutionary movements collection contains files on such liberation movements as MPLA, FNLA, UNITA, UPA, GRAE, FRELIMO, COREMO, ANC, PAC, SASO, SWAPO, SWANU, ZANU, ZAPU, and FROLIZI.
The Southern Africa collection (1969– ) contains political ephemera, pamphlets, and photographs of political action groups and other organizations (Gulf Boycott Coalition, SWA 1975–76 Constitutional Conference, South African Congress of Trade Unions, Urban Foundation, American Committee on Africa, Episcopal Churchmen for South Africa, Washington Office on Africa, African National Council [Zimbabwe], Friends of Rhodesia, and Zimbabwe Rhodesia Elections [1979–80]).
The papers of S. Herbert Frankel (1925–75), a world-class economic historian, contain his writings, correspondence, reports, and proceedings of commissions he served on, relating to economic conditions, finance, agriculture, mining, and transportation in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and East Africa.
Other archival collections include the David Grenfell reports on Angolan refugees in Zaire (1963–70); the Keith Middlemas collection concerning the 1974 Portuguese revolution and events in Lusophone Africa; the Thomas Henriksen papers, with material on the Frente da Libertacao de Mocambique, the Movimento Popular de Libertacao de Angola, and the Partido Africano da Independencia da Guinee do Cabo Verde; the Ferdinand Klien collection on the 1989 Namibia independence election; Ernest F. Fox's slides of Northern Rhodesia (1929–32); the Gann-Duignan papers relating to the history of Northern and Southern Rhodesia (1950–76); Godfrey Huggins and colonialism in Africa; the Frederick Russell Burnham papers relating to the South African War, the Matabele wars of 1893 and 1896, and exploration in Africa; the Vic and Barby Ulmer collection relating to political and economic conditions in various African countries; the S. I. Hayakawa papers, 1977–88, which include material from the former California senator's trips to Zimbabwe; the Louise Fortmann/Emery Roe collection concerning rural development, local government, and sociology in Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, and Tanzania; the Jerry Eckert papers on agricultural development in Lesotho; and material on the 1980 Zimbabwe election from Anthony H. M. Kirk-Greene.
For Namibia, the library holds the legislative proceedings for the following: South West Africa Legislative Assembly/National Assembly/Legislative Assembly for the Whites, Debates (1965–80, 1979–80), Votes and Proceedings (1926–62, 1967– ), Eastern Caprivi (1973– ), Kavango (1972– ), Owambo (1968–70, 1972–79, 1981– ), Rehoboth (1979– ), and Nama (1981– ).
Holdings of journals published by the South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) include Current Events in Namibia (Dar es Salaam, 1975–76), Namibia News (London, 1968, 1970–78), Namibia Today (Lusaka, Dar es Salaam, Luanda, 1965–69, 1971– ), Namibia Youth (Stockholm, 1982– ), Solidarity (Cairo, 1962–67, 1974–75), and SWAP0 Information Bulletin (Luanda, 1980<– ).
The library tries to elucidate South Africa's complex problems by drawing on every possible source—official publications, materials produced by political parties and by the legal and the underground opposition, and private sources of every description. The library attempts to obtain every important South African government publication, including commission reports, such as the seventeen-volume Tomlinson Report (Commission for the Socio-Economic Development of the Bantu Areas, 1955), the Odendaal Report (Commission of Inquiry into South West Africa Affairs, 1964), and the Cillie Report (Commission of Inquiry into the Riots at Soweto ... 1976 ... 1977, 1980). There are significant holdings on nationalist and other opposition groups. Included are the following journal and newspaper titles: A.P.O. (Cape Town, 1909–15, 1922); The International (Johannesburg, 1915–24); Umsebenzi (Johannesburg, 1926–38); The Spark (Cape Town, 1935–39; Guardian>/i> (Cape Town, 1937–52); Inkundla Ya Bantu (Verulam, 1944–51); Challenge (Johannesburg, 1951–53); New Age, also called Clarion, People's World, and Advance (Cape Town, 1952–62); African Communist (London, 1959, 1961– ); Counter Attack (Johannesburg, 1961–62); and Fighting Talk (Johannesburg, 1954–58, 1960–63).
The library holds various journals issued by present-day nationalist groups, such as the African National Congress's Sechaba (London, 1967– ) and ANC Weekly News Briefing (London, 1981– ) and the Pan Africanist Congress's Azania News (Dar es Salaam, 1968– ).
Special holdings on South Africa include four microfilm reels on the black consciousness movement of South Africa (material from the collection of Gail Gerhart); the 71-reel Carter-Karis collection, which includes documents on South African politics from 1882 to 1964 collected by Gwendolyn Carter and Thomas Karis; 3 reels of papers (1933–48) of the South African Communist Party and related organizations, held by the South African Public Library, Cape Town; South Africa: A Collection of Miscellaneous Documents, 1902–1963, in 15 microfilm reels, which includes publications of the South African Congress of Trade Unions, South African Indian Congress, Pan Africanist Congress, African National Congress, Congress of Democrats, Liberal Party, African Political Organization, and African People's Organization; 15 reels on the treason trial in South Africa (1956–60), for which the Hoover Institution Press published a guide prepared by Thomas Karis; 10 microfilm reels, covering the years 1921–49, of papers of Alfred B. Xuma, president of the African National Congress in the 1940s, including correspondence, political pamphlets, party policy statements; and several boxes of records of Dom Polskich Dzieci in Oudtshoorn, covering the years 1942–47, containing correspondence and reports on the establishment and operation of this home for Polish war orphans from Russia; interview notes and photos by Peter Duignan with Steve Biko, founder of the Black Consciousness Movement before he was imprisoned in 1979.
Additional archival collections on South Africa include photographs of Herbert S. Stark, 1899–1920, of gold mining operations and British troops in the South African war; the Newell M. Stultz collection on the Transkei; the William Henry Vatcher papers on South African politics; photographs of the 1994 South African election by Jan K. Coetzee and Geoffrey T. Wood; publications of the Communist Party of South Africa, 1937–43; records of a Polish Children's Home for war orphans from Russia, 1942–47; the William H. Hutt papers on South Africa; records from the Polish Consulate in Cape Town, 1939–48, and from the Polish Consulate General in Pretoria, 1930–57; the Brian Reid collection of South African election material, 1909–90; the Alfred B. Xuma papers on 10 microfilm reels, 1921–49; and South African films.
The library obtained the publications of the various African nationalist groups, such as Zimbabwe Review (1968–79) and Zimbabwe News (1964–79), as well as current titles, such as Social Change and Development and Moto. The Zimbabwean subject collection includes many records and files from the pre-independence period. Holdings of government commission reports include Report of the Land Commission of 1894, Papers Relating to the Southern Rhodesia Native Reserves Commission of 1917, and the Native Labour Committee of Enquiry Report (1921). The library also holds a 1971 guide, on microfilm, "The Historical Manuscripts of the National Archives of Rhodesia and Nyasaland," as well as runs of important serials.