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Digitising, disseminating and showcasing African cultural materials.

Africa Commons is a digital platform that aims to enable Africa to control, digitise, and disseminate its archival riches—those within the continent and items residing internationally.

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Integrated on a single platform, Africa Commons currently comprises:

Africa Commons: South African Magazines

Over 50, 000 pages of historically significant magazines, written for African audiences.

This groundbreaking, digitised collection of rare, historical, and out-of-copyright magazines from 1937–1973 comprises over 50, 000 pages of historically significant magazines, written for African audiences.

  • Drum Magazine 1955–1973
  • The Township Housewife
  • Grace Magazine
  • Hi-Note!
  • Contrast
  • And more being added.


At the heart of this compilation stands the iconic, Drum Magazine:

  • Once the most widely read magazine in Africa
  • Drum reflected the heartbeat of our society
  • 277 issues, spanning 1955–1973
  • Intentions to obtain earlier issues 1951–1954

Explore the collection

Africa Commons: Southern African Films and Documentaries

Streaming access to more than a century of African history, politics, and culture.

With content spanning the 1900s to the early 2000s, this collection features:

  • Over 100 films and documentaries dating from the 1900s to the early 2000s
  • Films and newsreels covering key events from 1919 onwards
  • Exclusive interviews from the 1980s
  • Writers, journalists, and activists discussing first-hand accounts of key events

All films are transcribed and keyword searchable. Accompanying essays in PDF format will be added in future to provide context and make the films accessible for introductory courses.

The content supports teaching and research in:

  • African studies
  • Film & cinema
  • History & world culture
  • Race & ethnicity
  • Women’s studies
  • And other areas.

Explore the collection

Africa Commons: History and Culture

Showcasing rare and endangered African cultural materials.

The most comprehensive place for searching and collecting African historical and cultural materials. The collection features:

  • Central access point to over 450 000 digital cultural artefacts
  • Curated from more than 4 500 collections worldwide
  • 600 contributing organisations
  • Books, newspapers, government documents, letters, diaries, posters, and manuscripts
  • Oral history, photographs, art, music, and videos
  • Simple, powerful search

Users can find thousands of digital collections of African materials in one place. Organisations located in Africa can upload their relevant content for free to the platform to make it more discoverable.

Explore the collection

Should you subscribe to either the South African Magazines or Southern African Films and Documentaries you will receive free access to the History and Culture module.

This service adds value to:

  • Academic researchers and students

  • Independent researchers

  • Corporate researchers

  • Public library patrons

  • Government departments/researchers

Sabinet and Coherent Digital share a common goal of preserving African content and facilitating its accessibility to scholars in South Africa and Africa, making us ideal partners.