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Allen Isaacman lecture on border of Zimbabwe and Mozambique

Allen Isaacman lecture on border of Zimbabwe and Mozambique

The University of the Western Cape’s (UWC) library hosted the annual Allen Isaacman lecture on 1 March 2016. The lecture was titled “Clandestine migrations, contested borders and entangled history: Mozambican migration to Zimbabwe”.

Professor Allen Isaacman and Barbara Isaacman are no strangers to the UWC library. In 2012 Prof Isaacman donated his personal African lusophone book collection to the UWC library. Prof Isaacman, who has published widely on the history of Mozambique and the larger region of Southern Africa, handed over his collection of 2,283 books (excluding the Portuguese titles) under the supervision of Library Director, Pateka Ntshuntshe Mashaya.

This collection was subsequently named the Allen Isaacman collection. This is a remarkable collection of books, ephemera, posters, and serials of both currently available and scarce out-of-print publications. The collection's primary focus is on Mozambique’s difficult history and contains books in relation to this. It also contains documents dating back to 1846, primary accounts of travellers, and colonial reports. The collection also includes strong coverage of other southern African states.

This phenomenal author of eight books focusing on African history spoke to guests about the history of Mozambique and Zimbabwe, and how Mozambican’s moved to then Rhodesia Zimbabwe in search of “milk and honey”. He said approximately 60 000 Mozambicans left for Zimbabwe because of the job opportunities the country presented in mines, particularly.

The collection given to UWC library was one of the finest of its kind held in private ownership in North America. Prof Isaacman and his wife Barbara desire to see the expansion of this collection with additional materials and books. As such he has been donating USD 1 000 every year to the library.

As a memorial Prof Isaacman and his wife have pledged to donate two thousand dollars (USD 2 000) annually to expand the Allen Isaacman Collection at UWC. Upon their deaths they intend to bequeath fifty thousand dollars (USD 50 000) of their estate to the University’s Jakes Gerwel Education, Development and Endowment Fund.

Director of the UWC-Library, Phateka Matshaya, said on behalf of the University that the library is grateful for the continued support from Prof Isaacman and Barbra Isaacman through the years. She also acknowledged the presence of guests from the Zimbabwe Consulate General's Office, the Mozambique Consulate general's office and the guests from Iziko Museum.