The Documentation Centre for Music (DOMUS) is the special collections section of the Music Library. The aim of DOMUS is to collect, preserve and make available, rare materials of musicologists, musicians, music institutions and music societies. Representing mostly South African demography, our collection development focuses on South African and African content. Document types include paper documents (for example, correspondence, photographs, notes, and music manuscripts) and audio-visual materials (for example, CDs, DVDs, reel tapes and videos). Items added to DOMUS are either as direct donations or through collaboration with staff from the Africa Open Institute (AOI) and the Music Department.

Initial collections included Africana sheet music, rare books, collections of former Konservatorium staff members (e.g., Friedrich Wilhelm Jannasch and Hans Endler) of composers (e.g., Albert Coates and Rosa Nepgen), bibliophile Michael Scott, physical chemist Frits Stegmann, and newspaper critic Charles Weich. From 2005, the music special collections became known as DOMUS, based on a project that Prof Stephanus Muller proposed to the SU Library and Information Service and the Music Department.

In due course, more South African music collections were added to the existing DOMUS collections.  These collections represent different South African styles, languages and cultures and include artists such as Basil Coetzee, David Kramer, Jonathan Butler, Coenie de Villiers, Dizu Plaatjies, and Zayn Adams from the collection of producer Patrick Lee Lee-Thorp, Brenda Fassie, Johnny Clegg, Lucky Dube, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Mandoza, Prophets of da City, Rebecca Malope and the Soweto String Quartet from the collection of producer Pam Devereux-Harris, and Jeremy Taylor, Roger Lucey,  Kippie Moeketsi and Hugh Masekela from the Hidden Years Music Archive Project (HYMAP).

DOMUS also holds the collections of Afrikaans rock musician Anton Goosen, Taliep Petersen (musician and director of musicals) and composer and accordionist Nico Carstens. Anton Goosen, or ‘Liedjieboer’ (it is loosely translated as a person farming with songs). His song, ‘Blommetjie-gedenk-aan-my’, is regarded as the first rock song in Afrikaans, and this song earned Goosen the title of ‘Father of Afrikaans rock’. Recently, the book, ‘Mr Entertainment: The story of Taliep Petersen, by Paula Fourie was published.

Nico Carstens LP’s in foyer of Music Library

Jewish music is also represented through the collection of Fay Singer, who established the South African Jewish Music Centre (SAJMC) in 1992 to preserve Jewish music within a South African context by means of performances, presentations and lectures.

The Eoan Group collection documents the activities of the group, founded in District Six by Helen Southern-Holt in 1933. The Group operated under difficult circumstances under apartheid. From 1966, for example, they could perform in the City Hall before mixed audiences through permit applications.

Collections of South African art music composers include Graham Newcater, Stefans Grové, Michael Blake, Hubert du Plessis, Christopher James and John Simon. The collections of filmmaker Aryan Kaganof and musicologist Christine Lucia, as well as collections of music societies such as the Southern African Church and Concert Organists Society (SACOS) and Obelisk Music are also included.

It is clear from these examples that DOMUS collects diverse collections that link in with Stellenbosch University’s mandate of inclusivity, transformation and redress as set out in the Transformation and Redress Policy.

More information on DOMUS and its collections can be found in the DOMUS Library guide. The article, ‘Armed with a light bulb at the end of a cord’ provides a detailed history of DOMUS for the period 2005 to 2015.

Authors: Santie de Jongh and Beulah Gericke-Geldenhuys