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About the Africa collection in SOAS Library

The Africa collection is situated on Level D (classmarks U – Y). It includes publications on and from the whole continent of Africa with the exception of Egypt which is covered by the Middle East & Central Asia Section. The collection covers the fields of languages and cultures, arts and humanities, and law and social sciences. 

The African Language Collection (classmarks XIII – Y) covers hundreds of languages from the whole continent. Some languages are held in other regional collections within SOAS Library:

  • Publications in Arabic chiefly on North Africa are located in the Middle East & Central Asia Section (Level B).
  • Publications in Amharic and other Semitic Ethiopian languages are located in the Ancient Near East, Semitics and Judaica Section (Level B).
  • Publications in Malagasy on Madagascar are located in the South East Asia and Pacific Islands Section (Level C).

The African Reference Collection is on Level D at stacks 188-193. This collection holds many reference works including encyclopaedias, bibliographies, and handbooks.

To locate specific classmarks within the Africa Section please see the Location list for the entries U – Y.

Journals – the Library has an extensive collection of journals in both print and electronic format. Please check the Library catalogue and A-to-Z electronic journals for more information.

Notable collections within the Africa Section
  • The African Languages Collection (Classmarks XIII-Y, and L Y) is unique in that all African languages are collected. The range extends from linguistic studies through creative literature to works of scholarship in African languages.
  • Hardyman Madagascar Collection (Classmarks WYM and E WYM) A unique collection on Madagascar, donated in 1991 by Mr and Mrs J.T. Hardyman. While reflecting Mr Hardyman's life and work as a missionary in Madagascar it covers a range of subjects and includes a large number of works in the Malagasy language.
  • Society for Libyan Studies Collection (Classmarks UVL, L UVL and Pam UVL) The Library of this archaeological society is held on permanent loan. It covers mainly history and archaeology chiefly in Libya and North Africa and includes books, journals and pamphlets. 
Special collections

The Archives and Special Collections at SOAS Library is located on Level F and holds important collections of archives, manuscripts and other primary source materials relating to Africa. Details can be found at: Archives and Special Collections: Africa

Contact: docenquiry@soas.ac.uk Tel.  0207 898 4180

Important book collections held in the Archives include:

  • Onitsha Market Literature Collection (Classmark - E Coll 5) Collection of Nigerian popular pamphlets from the 1960s.   
  • Hausa Popular Fiction: Furniss Collection (Classmark – E Coll 7) Collection of popular Hausa language fiction donated by Prof. Graham Furniss.
  • Gifford African Christianity Collection (Classmark  - E Coll 9) Chiefly English-language local publications on African (especially West African) Christian sects donated by Prof. Paul Gifford.