Wind driven wildfires in Cape Town, South Africa severely damaged the University of Cape Town’s historic Jagger Library on Sunday.  The library, over 200 years old, is home to the University’s special collections, which includes rare books, photographs, manuscripts and other priceless archival materials.  The Library contains over 1,300 collections of manuscripts and papers of prominent South Africans dating back to the 18th century.  It is also the home to over 85,000 books and pamphlets on African studies and huge library of African film.

According to Ujala Satgoor, the executive director of libraries, the main reading room was gutted by the fire but the fire suppression system, a series of fire doors, was triggered and prevented the spread of the fire to other parts of the library.  However, the full extent of the damage to both the building and its collections may not be known for some time.

For more information about the devastation this fire caused, please see