Basic Guide to Research on Africa: Film, Images & Sound Online

Film, Images, Sound, and Video

  • Africa Focus: Sights and Sounds of a Continent -and- African Studies (University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries and African Studies Program, Madison, Wisconsin)
    The website offers downloadable images, sound files, and other materials on Africa drawn from contributions by UWM faculty over the last 30 years.

  • Africa in the Photobook (Ben Krewinkel, Haarlem, the Netherlands)
    [Initiated in 2015]...a digital library of photobooks on colonial and post-colonial Africa. "The website is about the changing visual representation of Africa as expressed through the medium of the photobook."

  • African Photography Initiatives (Jürg Schneider and Rosario Mazuela, Basel, Switzerland)
    "APhI is dedicated to Africa’s rich photographic heritage. Our activities focus on the digitization, preservation and valorisation of photography and photography collections in Africa."
    --See especially: All Exhibitions; Cameroon Press Photo Archives, Buea ; Agence burundaise de presse ; Studio Photo George, Douala, Cameroon

  • American Archive of Public Broadcasting. A collaboration between Library of Congress, WGBH Media Library & Archives. ([United States] : American Archive of Public Broadcasting, [2015]-)
    "Access to a collection of American public radio and television content dating back to the 1950s. These audio and video materials, created by more than 120 public broadcasting organizations across the country..."

  • American Geographical Society Library--Digital Photo Archive: Africa (University of Wisconsin Libraries, Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
    "A selection of images from the extensive photographic holdings of the American Geographical Society (AGS) Library. Images are drawn from several collections, including Richard U. Light and Mary (Light) Meader Collection, the Harrison Forman collection, and the Edna Schaus Sorensen and Clarence W. Sorensen Collection."

  • Ancient Egypt on the Internet (via Columbia University Libraries)

  • Archaeology Data Service: British Institute in Eastern Africa Archive (2016): Axum, Ethopia and Kilwa, Tanzania (University of York, UK)
    A small archive of open access, downloadable black and white photos and texts associated with archaeological research conducted under the auspices of The British Institute in Eastern Africa in Nairobi, Kenya.

  • ArchNet (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts)
    Search by city or country, especially for Islamic sites. "ArchNet is an international online community for architects, planners, urban designers, landscape architects, and scholars developed at the MIT School of Architecture and Planning and the University of Texas at Austin, School of Architecture, in close cooperation with, and with the full support of The Aga Khan Trust for Culture." Thematic collections include:
    James de Vere Allen: Swahili Kingdoms ; Djenne Conservation ; Journey to Mali ; Mud Mosques of Mali ; A Survey of Bagamoyo

  • Art and Archaeology of Africa on the Internet (via Columbia University Libraries)

  • Association Images et Mémoires (Paris, France)
    A French language site offers a digital archive of postcards, as well as some photographs and engravings from all over Africa during the colonial era.

  • Columbia University Libraries -- Online Image, Sound & Video Collections -and- Guides to Africa-Related Film, Sound, & Video

    • Alexander Street Music Online: Contemporary World Music. (Alexander Street Press, USA) Barnard and Columbia faculty and students only

    • Alexander Street Music Online: Jazz Music Library. (Alexandre, VA) Barnard and Columbia faculty and students only.
      "A collection of jazz recordings which covers thousands of artists, ensembles, albums, and genres, from all over the world, from the beginnings of jazz to today."

    • Alexander Street Streaming Film Platform. (Alexandria, VA) Barnard and Columbia faculty and students only.
      Search for a film --by subject or title-- in the archive of films distributed online by Alexander Street Press.

    • Anthropology Collection (Alexander Street Press, USA) Barnard and Columbia faculty and students only
      Search in Ethnographic Video Online and Ethnographic Sound Archives Online (includes: Hugh Tracey Fieldwork Collection and the Sound of Africa series. [1920-1970].)

    • ARTstor ITHAKA. (New York) Barnard and Columbia faculty and students only.
      "A searchable database of digital images and associated catalog data...ARTstor covers many time periods and cultures, and documents the fields of architecture, painting, sculpture, photography, decorative arts, design, anthropology, ethnographic and women's studies, as well as many other forms of visual culture. Users can search, view, download and organize images."

    • Docuseek2 (Alexander Street Press, USA) Barnard and Columbia faculty and students only

    • Ethnomusicology: global field recordings. (Adam Matthew Digital, UK, 2019-) Barnard and Columbia faculty and students only.
      "...covers a broad range of fields of study including Uganda, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Ghana, Gambia, Senegal, Benin, Morocco and more. Collections within this region include Klaus Wachamann's recordings from Uganda, Larry Dennis Godsey collection from Ghana and Jacqueline Cogdell DjeDje's Music of Africa collection."

    • Filmakers Library Online (Alexander Street Press, USA) Barnard and Columbia faculty and students only

    • Films on Demand -- World Cinema Video Collection Barnard and Columbia faculty and students only

    • Film & Videos on Africa on the Internet

    • Guide to Videos on Africa Held at Columbia

    • The HistoryMakers (Chicago, Illinois) Barnard and Columbia faculty and students only
      "...a video oral history archive...dedicated to preserving African American, music, law, the arts, science, technology, media, medicine, entertainment, fashion & beauty, business, the military, politics and sports,"

    • kweliTV (Brooklyn, New York) Barnard and Columbia faculty and students only
      "kweliTV celebrates global Black stories and amplifies Black storytellers from North America, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia and Australia."

    • Music & Dance of Africa on the Internet

    • Naxos Music Library: Jazz. (Hong Kong ; Franklin, TN : Naxos Digital Services) Barnard and Columbia faculty and students only.
      "Includes thousands of titles online of the Fantasy catalogue and Naxos Jazz. Works may be searched by featured artist(s), disc / song title and catalogue number."

    • Smithsonian Global Sound for Libraries: Africa. (Washington, DC) Barnard and Columbia faculty and students only.

  • Germany. Kolonialbibliothek in der Universitätsbibliothek Frankfurt am Main (Frankfurt, Germany)
    • Documents and images from the German colonial era, including a large collection of digitzed photographs (50,000-70,000 items) from the German empire in Africa and Oceania.
      --See especially: Koloniales Bildarchiv

  • G.I. Jones' Photographic Archive of Southeastern Nigerian Art & Culture (Prof. John C. McCall, in cooperation with Ursula Jones, Dept. of Anthropology, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois)
    "This is an archive of digitized photographs depicting the arts and cultures of southeastern Nigeria. The collection includes examples from Ibibio, Igbo, Ijo and Ogoni speaking peoples. All of the photographs were taken in the 1930s by the late G.I. Jones, Department of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge. The majority of the images are from the Igbo speaking regions where Jones conducted most of his research."

  • History & Cultures of Africa on the Internet (via Columbia University Libraries)

  • History in Progress Uganda ( Andrea Stultiens and Canon Griffin, The Netherlands and Kampala, Uganda)
    An open access digital gallery of photographs from and about Uganda over the last century. "We try to locate collections relevant to the representation of Uganda’s past. These collections include colonial archives and personal collections, images made in a professional context that could range from photojournalism to anthropology, the content of shoeboxes and albums, photographs made by Ugandan and non Ugandan professionals and amateurs."

  • Images du passé en Afrique de l'Ouest (Olivier Blot, Paris, France)
    Another French language site offering a digital archive of over 900 postcards and other images from the colonial era in Senegal, French Soudan (Mali), Guinea, Upper Volta (Burkina Faso), Côte d'Ivoire, Togo, Dahomey (Benin), Niger, Chad, and Cameroon.

  • Kenya National Archives and Google Arts & Culture (Nairobi, Kenya; USA)
    A selection of 1,043 items featured in this digital exhibition of black-and-white and color photos of people and objects from the KNA collections in Nairobi, Kenya; plus 8 illustrated "stories".

  • Northwestern University Herskovits Library--Humphrey Winterton Collection of East African Photographs, 1860-1960 -and- Historical Posters from Southern Africa (Evanston, Illinois)

  • PANAFEST '66 '69 '74 '77 (Dominique Malaquais, Cédric Vincent ...[et al.], Chimurenga, Cape Town, South Africa)
    An open access, web documentary site --in French and some English-- featuring videos of over 50 interviews with participants in the 4 key international pan-African festivals in Africa during the period 1966-1977: FESMAN--First World Festival of Negro Arts (Dakar, 1966); PANAF--First Pan-African Cultural Festival (Algiers, 1969); Festival Zaïre 74 (Kinshasa, 1974) ; and FESTAC--Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture (Lagos, 1977).
    --Related print: FESTAC '77 : 2nd World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture. Decomposed, an-arranged and reproduced by Chimurenga ; misdirections in music by Ntone Edjabe.
    [Cape Town] : Chimurenga ; [London] : Afterall Books, 2019. (445 p.)
    --FESTAC: The Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture: A Partial Documentation. By Abdul Alkalimat.
    This website is a digital collection of official documents handed to participants, some of the papers presented, video documentaries, and articles written about FESTAC.
    --"Culture in Action: Dialogues on the Future of a Common Black Identity," May 23, 1977. Audio recording, 92 minutes in length. By Charlie Cobb. (Minnesota Public Radio Archive, Minneapolis, MN) Black scholars from Africa, Latin America and the United States discuss prospects for a united black movement. The scholars were in Africa for FESTAC 77, Lagos, Nigeria.
    --First World Festival of Negro Arts. Videorecording. Directed and written by William Greaves ; a production of the Motion Picture and Television Service of the United States Information Agency.
    New York, N.Y. : Distributed by WIlliam Greaves Productions, 2005.
    --Related print: Murphy, David. The First World Festival of Negro Arts, Dakar 1966 : contexts and legacies. Liverpool : Liverpool University Press, 2016. (224 p.)
    --Festival panafricain d'Alger: film culte et méconnu! ; Eldridge Cleaver, black panther. Videorecording. Un film de William Klein. [France] : Arte Editions, [2010]
    --Related print: All-African Cultural Festival (1st : 1969 : Algiers, Algeria) 1er festival culturel panafricain, Alger, 1969. Textes réunis et présentés par Omar Mokhtari. [Alger] : Éditions Actualité Algérie, [1970]. (310 p.)
    --Soul power. Videorecording. Sony Pictures Classics ; DASFilms Ltd. presents ; an Antidote Films production of ; a film by Jeffrey Levy-Hinte ; produced and directed by Jeffrey Levy-Hinte ; produced by David Sonenberg, Leon Gast. [United States] : Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, [2010]

  • PictureNet Africa (Johannesburg, South Africa)
    A commercial respository of photographs from photographic agencies in South Africa, with information on fees and permissions.

  • Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of African Art: Art Collection -and- Photographic Archive (Washington, DC)

  • Sudan Memory (Khartoum, Sudan)
    "A digitisation project dedicated to conserving and promoting Sudanese cultural and documentary heritage...The materials scanned by Sudan Memory include films, photos, manuscripts, objects, documents and art works...Funded by the British Council Cultural Protection Fund and the Aliph Foundation. King’s College is the project lead. The National Records Office (NRO) and Sudanese Association for Archiving Knowledge (SUDAAK) are the major national partners."

  • United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization: Digitizing Our Shared UNESCO History--Photographs (Paris, France)
    Open access viewing of images, video, recordings, and documents, but "prior written permission is required to reproduce the content..."
    --See also: All Collections

  • University of Michigan, School of Information : "Music Time in Africa" Digitized Broadcasts, 1966-1996. (Ann Arbor, Michigan)
    The online archive of a "Voice of America" program, part of: Leo Sarkisian "Music Time in Africa" Archive.

  • University of California, Los Angeles--Modern Endangered Archives Program: Archive of Sound and Vision: Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan, Nigeria (Los Angeles, California)
    A digital library of documents, performances, and historical events as well as recorded oral histories that describe life and practices from Nigeria and West Africa more broadly. The original recordings include an Ozid epic of the Ijaw, Urhobo Udjesongs, Yoruba Geleda, and theaters of Duro Ladipo.

  • University of Southern California, Los Angeles: International Mission Photography Archive, c1860-1960
    "...offers historical images from Protestant and Catholic missionary collections in Britain, Norway, Germany, France, Switzerland, and the United States. The photographs, which range in time from the middle of the nineteenth to the middle of the twentieth century, offer a visual record of missionary activities and experiences in Africa, China, Madagascar, India, Papua-New Guinea, and the Caribbean."