A Note of Support to the University of Cape Town from the board of PEN South Africa
21 Apr 2021
It was with grief and fear that the board of PEN South Africa followed the news of the fires at the University of Cape Town, that we read about the traumatizing evacuation of staff and students from the campus and the devastating damage to the Jagger Reading Room/African Studies Library
We are indebted to the heroism and courage of the fire-fighters. We are grateful that no persons were harmed and that UCT librarians and archivists had made provision for many special documents in the fireproof basement. Many of us on the board of PEN South Africa have close and enduring ties to the University of Cape Town; we have learned in its classrooms, spent enlightening hours in its libraries, walked its avenues. We know the care and dedication with which the University’s librarians and scholars manage its collections, the benefit of those libraries to students, and the radiating effect the African Studies library has on research and knowledge production in the city, the country, the continent and beyond. We grieve the loss of this space and the texts it held, but we know that rebuilding is and will be possible. As an organization dedicated to literature and to the protection of the knowledge of our people, we will do whatever we can to help in that effort.
The board of PEN SOUTH AFRICA