AudioVisual Archive

Remarkable stories of courage and human suffering, which were part of the liberation struggle, are told in the hundreds of recordings of interviews with exiles and former political prisoners contained in the oral history collections. Other collections record speeches and interviews with activists from across the political and social spectrum, and document events and conferences that were instrumental in bringing about a new social order.

Included in the sound and oral history collections:
•Interviews with many South African ex-political prisoners and political exiles.
•Major meetings, rallies, briefings, press conferences of the Southern African liberation movements and allied support groups.
•Lectures such as the annual Canon Collins Memorial Lecture Series delivered by, among others, Oliver Tambo and Govan Mbeki.
•Tapes of historic importance, such as Chief Albert Luthuli’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, an interview with Nelson Mandela recorded in 1961, and interviews with those who took part in the 1955 Congress of the People and were later charged in the 1956 Treason Trial.

In the mid-1970s, an appeal by IDAF to the exiled community in the United Kingdom led to the gradual retrieval of outstanding amateur film footage – largely unedited 8mm and 16mm material of key events of South African political history.

The core of the collection came from IDAF in London, where it grew in response to the needs of international solidarity with the struggle against apartheid. It became a valuable research resource and many of the productions were networked internationally to raise awareness about the situation in South Africa. Most of these films and videos were banned in South Africa before 1990. The UWC-Robben Island Mayibuye Archive offers an extensive and unique film-video library and archive of documentary recordings, news footage, stock footage from film and video production projects and a comprehensive catalogue with shot lists to facilitate access.

Other components:
•Videos on the Frontline States, including the struggle for independence in Zimbabwe; the liberation war in Mozambique; Angola and the post-independence struggles against South Africa and its surrogates; and the struggle for independence in Namibia.
•Feature films on South Africa viewable on video.
•‘Anti-fascist’ documentaries and feature films (viewable on video). Non-Southern African documentaries including Vietnam, US civil rights, Nicaragua and international culture.
•Production rushes including interviews with struggle leaders; footage of solidarity events including major demonstrations, rallies and meetings; footage of the successive visits to London of Mandela; footage of important conference and cultural festivals.
•‘Anti-fascist’ documentaries and feature films (viewable on video). Non-Southern African documentaries including Vietnam , US civil rights, Nicaragua and international culture.
•In 2000 the UWC-Robben Island Mayibuye Archive acquired the Afravision Video Archive, a unique documentary record consisting of approximately 5 000 beta recordings of the mass struggles of the 1980s and the tension-filled prelude to democracy in the early 199Os.