In almost ten years of existence, SUNDigital Collections, a digital heritage repository of the Library and Information Service, has showcased special collections and unique items from the Library to the public. It offers a single connection point to various collections of primary resources as well as digital research output. In support of digital scholarship, sharing our valuable resources and promoting intellectual collaboration the Library and Information Service offers free online access to these digital collections. The repository currently contains almost 16 000 items in 43 collections.

In recent years, Digital Humanities (DH), an area of scholarly activity at the intersection of computing or digital technologies and the disciplines of the Humanities has become a recognized discipline. In exploring how the Library can support Digital Humanities, it was found that SUNDigital Collections is an ideal home for DH projects.

One of the flagship projects is the hosting of the “Hardekraaltjie” collection in collaboration with the SU Transformation office’s Visual Redress project. Stellenbosch University engaged with members of the Tiervlei community and other stakeholders to initiate a “deep human-centered community participation process” to commemorate members of this community that were laid to rest at the site previously known as Hardekraaltjie cemetery. This cemetery is located on the grounds of the university’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Science. The University is committed to, in consultation with other members of the affected communities, to erect a memorial installation at the site of the cemetery to remind us of a past when the dignity of the people in this area was tragically violated. The cemetery was in use from 1909 to 1946 and had a central place in the then Tiervlei community, which was subjected to forced removals under the Group Areas Act of the apartheid regime.

SUNDigital Collections now gives a voice to the displaced by hosting inter alia recordings of interviews with members of the Hardekraaltjie community. The project is still in its infancy but will showcase deeds, images, maps, articles, poems and other material related to Hardekraaltjie once completed.

Please visit the repository for a peek into our digital heritage.

Author: Mimi Seyffert-Wirth