Nasionale Dokumentasiesentrum vir Afrikaanse Letterkunde

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(The "National Documentation Centre for Afrikaans Literature")

Origin and aims

Founded in 1971 by P.J. Nienaber as an archive of documents relating to the history and development of Afrikaans Literature and situated in the Institute for Languages, Literature and Arts at the Human Sciences Research Council, Pretoria. (He was also insturmental in founding three other Documentation centres at the HSRC: The National Documentation Centre for the Performing Arts, the National Documentation Centre for Music, and National Art Documentation Centre)

He was appointed the first head, to be followed later by Pirow Bekker. Arising from Nienaber’s own vast collections and his intensive archival work and publishing programme, the Documentation Centre also published an annual bibliography/source guide on Afrikaans Literature (Bronnegids tot die Afrikaanse Letterkunde).


In the beginning of the 1980s the Documentation centre was renamed the Centre for South African Literatures (CENSAL) with Charles Malan was made the head. By the end of the 1980s the Centre had been closed down and its materials transferred to the State Archives.


The National English Literary Museum and the Nasionale Afrikaanse Letterkundige Museum en Dokumentasiesentrum were both direct results of Nienaber's initial project.


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