Cory Library commemoration

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The Rhodes Cory Library will be celebrating its vast accumulation of genealogical records and illustrations concerning all aspects of Eastern Cape Heritage (including official documents and private papers, politics and literature, isiXhosa and English, churches and schools, colonialism and apartheid, protest and resistance, maps, photographs and genealogies) through the commemoration of a historic conversation between Sir George Cory, the founder of the Library, and Regent King Manxiwa, the ruler of the amaXhosa.

The event commemorates the 101st anniversary of the meeting at Willowvale/Gatyana between Sir George Cory and Regent King Manxiwa. On this occasion, Manxiwa recited the history of the amaXhosa and Sir George wrote it down. Much valuable information on sensitive issues such as the murder of King Hintsa in 1835 was therefore saved for posterity, and can still be consulted in the Library today.

One hundred years later, Cory Library is still engaged in the preservation and dissemination of Heritage Resources, and sees the meeting of Manxiwa and Sir George as an example of what can be achieved by working together.

The commemoration, on 31 January 2011, will be graced by the presence of the Manxiwa family and of Mrs Joan Cory Teeton, the grand-daughter of Sir George, as well as Zolani Mkiva, imbongi Yesizwe. Advocate Sonwabile Mancotywa, the Chief Executive Officer of the National Heritage Council, will deliver the keynote address.

The Head of the Library, Prof Jeff Peires, will introduce “Friends of the Cory Library,” a new initiative designed to enable the broader community to participate in the work of the Library and to benefit from its resources. Eastern Cape Reprints, a new series which make valuable rare books again available, will be launching its first two volumes, Ibali lamaMfengu by Richard Tainton Kawa (an indigenous history book) and A Contribution to South African Materia Medica by Andrew Smith of St Cyrus (a book on indigenous medicinal plants).

The commemoration will also feature displays on African intellectuals, indigenous plants, conservation of rare books, genealogical research and the Cory Library website. Those who are interested can take a tour of the Library’s innermost workings. Finally, there will be a book sale of Cory Library Publications and Africana books.

Cory Library is a unique Eastern Cape resource founded by Sir George Cory, the historian, in 1931. The Library has always been open to all researchers, outside as well as inside Rhodes University. In 2011 library staff will be making a special effort to reach out to the broader Eastern Cape community.