ExclusiveFeaturednewsSouth Africa

Campbell Collections a reservoir of African history

from FUTHI MBHELE in Durban
DURBAN – THE Campbell Collections holds major resources for research into the history and culture of KwaZulu-Natal and Southern Africa.

They are housed in a neo-Cape Dutch style house, Muckleneuk, formerly known as the home of Natal sugar farmer and politician Sir Marshall Campbell (1848 – 1917).

The Campbell Collections were established by Marshall’s son William (1880 – 1962) and his daughter Killie Campbell (1881 – 1965).

Killie, a well-known Africana collector, lived in Muckleneuk until her demise, and her collections were bequeathed to the University of Natal, which is now known as University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Campbell Collections collects, preserves and disseminates rare, unique, and specialized archival material reflecting political, economic, cultural and social changes in Africa to support study and research at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the needs of the people of South Africa and globally.

This mission statement is aligned with the University of KwaZulu-Natal Library mission statement, to “academically excellent, innovative in research, critically engaged with society, demographically representative, redressing the disadvantaged, inequalities and imbalances of the past.”

Inside the museum are different sessions and the furniture, some used by the Campbell family.

There is the Mashu Museum of Ethnology containing examples of the material culture of the indigenous people of southern Africa, in particular the Nguni of KwaZulu-Natal and its surrounds.

Illustrating these holdings are field-sketches and finished water-colour costume studies of all the Southern African people by Killie friend and protégé, Barbara Harcourt Tyrell.

The tour guide, Yandisa Jali, said the museum has picture collections, beads, work collections, artifacts and family furniture.

“Killie Campbell started the library and the museum,” Jali said.

“She was more interested in history and collecting history things,” the guide continued.

Killie was fascinated by Zulu history.

She collected books especially, maps, photographs and newspapers dated back in 1896.

“Then the museum follows. The furniture is the same furniture they were using,” Jali explained.

– CAJ News

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