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Special Collections


Human Rights Day - March 21, 2024

Human Rights day shares the day with the anniversary of the infamous Sharpeville Massacre, which occurred in 1960. This gross violation of human life happened when a march by ordinary South Africans protesting the Pass Laws turned into a police-led bloodbath. The day marked a turning point for the future of South Africa and the struggle for liberation, which intensified in its wake.   The police brutality on display during Sharpeville, as well as other innumerable acts of violence under Apartheid, are what inspired South Africa's famously progressive Bill of Rights, in which the right to life, regardless of race, gender or age is entrenched



The mission of Special Collections is to support UWC in fulfilling its research, teaching and learning goals by collecting, preserving and making accessible primary resource material of unique and enduring research value to graduates, faculty and other researchers.

UWC Special Collections focus on the history of or activities within the Western Cape including works dealing with Cape Flats, San and District Six as well as Sub-Saharan Africa. Items outside of the focus area maybe included on condition that the item complements or adds value to books already in the collection.

The collection holds a valuable assortment of books and pamphlets, which are a mine of information for researchers in particular South African socio-political history areas. Regular evaluation ensures the collections remain aligned with changes in focus or priorities of the University and its research community.

Reference Services: Special Collections staff provide reference services at the reference desk on Level 12, assisting users by answering questions on the holdings and identifying and locating material of interest. Orientation includes general information about the collection and how to use it effectively.

Photocopying: All photocopying of material is subject to copyright regulations. A photocopy machine is available on level 12.


University of the Western Cape,

Robert Sobukwe Road,



Tel: 021 959 2946