For the third year in a row, UKZN’s Campbell Collections were on the itinerary of a group of students from the Furman University in the USA. The Collections also attracted the attention of a BBC4 film crew making a documentary titled, Lost Kingdoms of Africa.

The Campbell Collections comprise important sources relating to the social, political and economic history of the province of KwaZulu-Natal.  Killie and William Campbell established the Collections in their home, Muckleneuk, which was built by their father Sir Marshall Campbell.  The Collections were bequeathed to the then University of Natal in 1965 and comprise of Killie Campbell Africana Library; the William Campbell Furniture and Picture Collection; and the Mashu Museum of Ethnology.

The Furman University group comprised of 22 students accompanied by Professor Kristy Maher. On this occasion their area of interest was migrant labour. They attended a lecture by the Campbell Collections’ Museologist, Mr Vusi Buthelezi, on the history of migrant labour in South African. The group also learnt how to go about finding material in the Campbell archives and the handling of archival documents, and enjoyed a tour of the Campbell museum.

The BBC4 film crew was attracted by the Collections’ original notebooks and papers in its James Stuart Collection.  These gave them insight into the history of King Shaka, which was recorded by James Stuart in the early 20th century through the oral testimonies of Zulus.

The filming of the papers took place at the Campbell Collections, and Mr Siyabonga Mkhize, a specialist in the area of Zulu history, explained and contextualised the papers for the documentary. Mkhize has published a book about the history of the Mkhize people, titled Uhlanga LwaEmbo.
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