Coherent Digital today announced the launch of Black South African Magazines, a collection of extremely rare and historically significant magazines created for Black audiences in Africa from 1937 to 1973.
Created by a new generation of Black journalists, writers and artists, the magazines are part of a larger story of Black resistance and liberation movements in South Africa. Despite their broad cultural and historical value, they exist in just a few physical locations and have not been digitized before. Many of the issues are so fragile that patron use is restricted.
Elizabeth Robey, the project's editor, says, "The collection is sourced and digitized entirely in South Africa. We're working with libraries of all sizes, from larger archives to city PL branches, to find the issues." Coherent's African-based production partner is Sabinet, a company owned by a consortium of African universities and employees.
The alpha version of Black South African Magazines, currently being tested by customers, contains 277 issues of the historically significant Drum. The publication chronicles township life under apartheid from a Black perspective—covering the Defiance Campaign, the massacre at Sharpeville, the emergence of Black African Jazz, and other historical and cultural milestones.
The beta version will launch in about a week with additional content to follow, including Grace and The Townships Housewife, the first women's magazines written by and for Black women. Robey explains, "Because these were women's magazines and considered apolitical, they fell under the radar of the apartheid government's censorship. They deliver valuable Black African perspectives on life in the turbulent 1960s."
Black South African Magazines is the second module to go live on the Africa Commons platform, following the recent release of Africa Commons: History and Culture. Next month a third module, Southern African Films and Documentaries, will be added to Africa Commons. Users can cross-search the modules. Single titles, or packages including all three modules, are available through perpetual purchase or annual subscription. Trials are available.
Members of BTAA, ASERL, CRL, and other groups should check with their consortia for existing and soon-to-release Africa Commons offers.
About Coherent Digital
Coherent Digital was founded in 2019 by industry veterans Stephen Rhind-Tutt, Toby Green, Eileen Lawrence, Pete Ciuffetti, and others. Today, the scholarly record is incomplete, missing critical research materials that are currently wild—undiscoverable, uncatalogued, uncitable, and unstable. At Coherent Digital, we curate, capture, enrich, and make wild content available to scholars on our award-winning Commons platforms. We focus on grey literature, regional content, primary sources, and learning objects