The Archive consists of unique multimedia collections depicting multiple facets of resistance of the freedom struggle that was waged against Apartheid from within and outside the borders of South Africa.

The initial core collection is constituted of the material collected by the International Defence and Aid Fund (IDAF) which was banned in 1966 and continued its work in London until 1991. After the unbanning of organizations in 1990 and IDAF’s closure, the IDAF collection was relocated to South Africa to form the nucleus of the archives of the pioneering Mayibuye Centre for History and Culture in South Africa, based at the University of the Western Cape.

After the Mayibuye Centre was established in 1992, many activists and activist organizations donated their collections to the Centre. Then, in September 1996, when the South African Cabinet decided on establishing the Robben Island Museum as the first official heritage institution of the new democracy, it also recommended that the IDAF/Mayibuye collections be incorporated into the museum. After intensive negotiations, this recommendation was implemented on 1 April 2000, as part of a comprehensive co-operation agreement between RIM and UWC.

In the agreement it states that “both institutions concur that the collection is a national treasure which needs to be preserved in perpetuity for the nation within the parameters of South African Law.”
The Mayibuye Archive Collections provide a rich resource for anyone with an interest in exploring the struggles waged against the Apartheid system and it has been used for a wide range of exhibitions, studies, publications and documentary films over the years.

The Archive is located on the UWC Campus within the Main Library and is funded by the Department of Arts and Culture.