My African Library: A Note

By Cherry Gertzel 


This library provides a wide range of resource materials concerning the Eastern and central Africa region which geographically stretches southward from the Horn of Africa to Mozambique and westwards inland to the Ruwenzorie Mountains (the Mountains of the Moon) and the Great Lakes region; and within that region the states of Sudan, DRC Congo, Rwanda and Burundi, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania including Zanzibar

Historically, the Library has its origins in my own teaching and research interests years from 1958 to 1975-6, as they emerged and as they were moulded by my years at Macquarie University College and Nairobi University College which became, with Dar es Salaam, the first universities in East Africa and later at Lusaka University.  While at no time did I think in terms of ‘setting up a library’ I bought books and collected government publications newspapers and journals and what I term as ‘ephemera’ which included a good deal of locally published material not otherwise readily available, published and unpublished. I have continued the habit ever since, not only in East Africa where the 1960s were a decade of growth in publishing.  In Austraia through the 1980s second hand bookshops especially could turn up some very important books. I attended conferences (not only in East Africa) and amassed a large collection of conference papers including from Eastern Africa.

Library contents

The contents of the library generally divide into published and unpublished material and are listed by country of origin where possible.  The most extensive holdings are for Uganda, Kenya and Zambia although there is an increasing amount of material on Somalia and Sudan as well.

A broad identification of the present subject contents is most easily provided by the Contents page pages of Uganda: An Annotated Bibliography of Source Materials which was published in 1991, and which reflects (although not entirely) my own holdings for the period 1971-1988.  Since then the holdings have further expanded with the inclusion of major studies and monographs published and that date


Books (a rough estimate is around 4,000 titles)


Government Publications

  • Government publications, Uganda KenyaG (both Ugandan and Kenyan colonial publications (1900 to 1962/3) virtually complete sets
  • Government publications Tanzania. Colonial and independent publications not quite complete Government publications Zambia .Colonial period not quite complete
  • Sudan Nigeria, Eritrea Government publications.  Occasional and limited in coverage
  • British government, Commissions etc on East Africa, Uganda. Tanganika, Zambia.
  • East African High Commission.  Various but incomplete documentation since 1950s
  • Census Reports and related material for Uganda and Kenya complete since 1940s and continuing into the independent state/s.
  • Australian Government publications relating to Australian relations with Africa from 1950s until 1980s
  • International Organisations eg FAO, WHO, IBRD, World Bank
  • Local government documentation, for Uganda, Kenya and (more erratically) Tanzania
  • Parliamentary papers, especially for Uganda and Kenya . 1958 onwards.
  • Nongovernment agencies.  Varied materials esp Amnesty International


Pamphlets, Journals, Newspapers, Weeklies and Periodicals, etc.

  • Pamphlets. A wide range, mainly but not only from Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. Lots of ephemera here! Most probably bought on the streets of Kampala, Nairobi, Dar es Salaam!
  • Political party material for Uganda,, Kenya Tanzania, Zambia
  • Articles and conference papers including full sets of annual East African Studies Conferences 1950s-



  • A small but, in my own judgement, valuable collection of local (ie African) newspapers, journals and periodicals and weeklies, that go back to the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.
  • East African daily newspapers. Published in Kampala, Nairobi, Dar es Salaam.  A vast collection, some long runs, others much shorter. Mostly Uganda and Kenya.
  • The Weekly Review. Complete full run from May 1975 to April 1995 when publication ceased. (Published in Nairobi circulated across East Africa)
  • Munno (In Uganda published by Democratic Party since early 1960s and still in circulation)
  • Journal of the Faculties of Arts and Social Sciences at Makerere University. My issues complete to the present.
  • Uganda Journal (Kampala).  Published by the Uganda Society since 1935, with a long period of ‘hibernation’ from 1971, and occasional issues since 1980s.  My holding a small and intermittent run but a useful run
  • African Affairs ,1983-
  • New African. 1995-
  • Review of African Political Economy
  • A very large collection of photocopies of journal articles
  • Atlases. Style manuals, etc, etc.
  • Includes latest Times Atlas of World History and Africa: Atlas of our Changing Environment.


Unpublished material: research records

This includes all my own field notes of research in East Africa up to the late 1980s.  Also my correspondence.


Major areas of interest

  • Population history: migration colonisation and settlement across eastern Africa, roughly 1000BC to 1000AD as well as in the postcolonial state; State formation, Uganda pre-colonial era 16th- 19th centuries
  • Nineteenth century African history and politics and British/European imperial impact
  • Colonial era: government adminsitration, including local government and nationalist struggles of east African peoples
  • Social and economic change and class formation in AFrica.
  • Party politics, colonial and post-colonial
  • Environment and history
  • Post-colonial and independent eastern Africa


Location of Library

Darlington is in the hills behind Perth in Western Australia ,off the main road from Perth to the Eastern states: a pleasant locality (the local government designation). Not yet quite a suburb but increasing in population with its own history: for instance the remains of an old convict depot at the turn off of the main road reflect W.A.s convict period and the building of the Great Eastern Highway. The Nyanya Creek flows through the bush behind and through my neighbours’ blocks opposite.  At present, after rain, it is a fast running ‘torrent’.  In the summer on the other hand the creek is as dry as an old bone and the bush is tinder dry. There is a public swimming pool at the corner of the main road which is well patronised through the hot weather.  The most important people are the Volunteer Firefighters.  There is a bus from the end of our road to Midland, and a train from Midland station into Perth Railway Station, which continues on to Fremantle.


Cherry Gerzel