Inside Apartheid: The Benjamin Pogrund Collection of Southern Africa Materials

Historical evidence is a frequent casualty of turbulent times. Documents that might enable historians to chronicle the events and actors in periods of war, insurgency, and political upheaval are too often lost or destroyed through oversight or deliberate action. During the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, journalist Benjamin Pogrund worked tirelessly and at great personal risk with the Cooperative Africana Microform Project (CAMP) at the Center for Research Libraries to ensure the survival of thousands of documents of the period.

Through the efforts of Pogrund and his CAMP affiliates the archives and published works of many labor organizations, political parties, editors, and activists engaged in the anti-apartheid struggle were assembled and are available for scholars to use today. These materials include the archives of the Black Sash Society; minutes, programs, photographs, newspaper clippings, and correspondence relating to the African National Congress; and the archives of the Trade Union Council of South Africa. The Pogrund Collection also includes transcripts and evidence from the now infamous proceedings against Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Isaac Setshedi, and other activists, and extracts from the evidence presented during the inquest into the death of Stephen Bantu Biko. The corpus of material preserved at the Center through Pogrund also includes print runs for scores of journals and serials in English and Afrikaans.

Benjamin Pogrund was a journalist and editor for the Rand Daily Mail in Johannesburg, South Africa from 1958 until its closing in 1985. Working with a series of visionary editors, Pogrund helped transform the Mail from a publication of the privileged class into an impartial daily that covered all sides of the news during the apartheid era. Because the Mail publicized anti-apartheid activities, the government attempted to suppress the paper, put Pogrund on trial several times, and imprisoned him once.

Pogrund contributed thousands of items to the Center for Research Libraries through CAMP, and these were designated the Benjamin Pogrund Collection of Southern Africa Materials. To review an abbreviated list of these holdings and further details in the Center's online catalog, visit the Pogrund Dedication and Holdings.