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World War I in Africa

20 Nov 2014 - 15:45
Weapons surrendered by the German army in Abercorn, then Northern Rhodesia, after General von Lettow-Vorbeck was finally tracked down and forced to surrender several weeks after the war had ended.  Photograph: BC 330 Murray Molteno Family Papers, Special Collections, UCT Libraries.
Weapons surrendered by the German army in Abercorn, then Northern Rhodesia, after General von Lettow-Vorbeck was finally tracked down and forced to surrender several weeks after the war had ended. Photograph: BC 330 Murray Molteno Family Papers.

2014 marks the centenary of the beginning of the world's first global conflict, the Great War, later known as World War One, which saw the rise of a new world order. Some 40 000 South Africans of all races volunteered in service of the British Empire. Altogether over two million people in Africa fought on the side of their colonisers, many being forcibly recruited.

To mark the importance of this war in world history, UCT Libraries have mounted an exhibition – with posters, books and archival material such as medals, field diaries and letters sourced from UCT Special Collections – in the Chancellor Oppenheimer Library foyer (level 4 research wing), and Special Collections in the Jagger Library.

The library will continue to recognise important events of the war over the next four years – starting with a virtual display of war poets, researched by Alexander d'Angelo.

Exhibition curator: Renate Meyer
Research: Beverley Angus
Photo research: Andre Landman
Poster layout: Brian Muller