Researchers and Visitors at the Alan Paton Centre

Michael MacInnes

Michael MacInnes from Chapman University of Orange, California 
visited the Alan Paton Centre

Michael MacInnes is an American undergraduate/accelerated graduate student at Chapman University in Orange, California, visited the Alan Paton Centre from 8-12 July 2019. Michael is doing research on political and ethnic violence in KwaZulu-Natal in the 1980s through 1990s. His research takes special focus on Inkatha/Inkatha Freedom Party, propaganda produced by Inkatha during this same period of time, and trying to understand how members are convinced to commit acts of violence. 

Josh Hambleton-Jewell

Mr Josh Hambleton-Jewell a PhD student visited the 
Alan Paton Centre

Josh Hambleton-Jewell from the University of Exeter in England visited the Alan Paton Centre on 2 July 2019, to do research for his PhD. Josh completed his BA in English Literature at the University of Exeter in 2017, and he went on to do his Master in Arts at the University of Oxford in 2018. Josh is currently writing his PhD thesis at the University of Exeter, in which he is looking at how the transformations in the internal relation between colour and capital access the world-system from the late 19th Century to the present, have impacted literature and cultural practice in South Africa, the Caribbean, and Britain. Josh says he heard about the Alan Paton Centre from various researchers and tutors over the years, and he decided to visit the Alan Paton Centre for his research.
Nondumiso Masondo & Nqobile Moloi
 Researchers from the KZN Legislative visited the 
Alan Paton Centre

Nondumiso Masondo and Nqobile Moloi, researchers from the KZN Legislative visited the Alan Paton Centre (APC) on 27 June 2019, to find history documents on Land Bills and Claims from the erstwhile KwaZulu Government.
The documents were needed most too extensively assist on the ongoing land debate in the country. The APC provided us with great archives that had everything to do with Land between 1972 and 1994. It was also refreshing to know more about the Legend that is Alan Paton and the role he played in the fights against injustices of the past. The centre is very important and we hope that the youth can be encouraged to visit and learn about our history archives stored in there. 

Bonga Ngubane

Bonga Ngubane a student from the Tatham Art Gallery visited the 
Alan Paton Centre 

Bonga studied dramatic writing and fine Arts at the Tatham Art Gallery, Bonga visited the Alan Paton Centre on 24 June 2019, looking for advice and collaboration, but instead he said he found out very interesting part of history he never knew of Alan Paton, that he was part of the struggle in the apartheid years. Alan Paton was born in Pietermaritzburg and attend Maritzburg College and later on became a teacher at his former  high school. Alan Paton’s research goes on for years people who want to study about Alan Paton should visit the Centre. Bonga said he was also impressed that a street is named after him. Bonga says his visit to the Centre was very informative.

Mr Michael Lambert

Mr Michael Lambert, Research Associate at Rhodes University, visits the Alan Paton Centre and Struggle Archives

Mr Michael Lambert, formerly of Classics at UKZN, Pietermaritzburg, and now a Research Associate in the School of Languages and Literatures at Rhodes University visited the centre from the 18-21 June, 2019, in order to access Benham’s work on the 19th century Anglican missionary, Henry Callaway, the author of ‘The Religious System of the Amazulu’. Lambert is investigating how some 19th century missionaries, who wrote early anthropological works on Zulu mythology and religion, used analogies drawn from the Greek and Roman classics to ‘redeem’ the reputation of Zulu religious beliefs in the eyes of hostile English (and Christian) settlers in the colony of Natal. 

Professor Uma Dhupeila-Mesthri 

 Professor Uma Dhupeila-Mesthri visits the Alan Paton Centre

Uma Dhupelia-Mesthrie is a Professor of History at the University of the Western Cape working on a history of Phoenix Settlement founded by Gandhi in 1904. Alan Paton was a trustee of the settlement for about two decades and she visited the Alan Paton Centre on 12 June 2019, to consult his papers as well as other liberal figures of the time to understand the politics of the 1950s through to the 1980s. She consulted PC1 the Alan Paton Collection to conduct her research.

Darryl David from the English Department visited the 
Alan Paton Centre with six of his students

On March 28 2019, five of my fellow third-year undergraduate students and I visited the Alan Paton Centre. The reason for our visit was due to all of us majoring in English at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg campus. The six of us are currently studying Alan Paton's novel "Cry, the Beloved Country", so our lecturer Darryl David encouraged us to go to the centre to have a feel of the man who wrote the novel. We were taken on a tour of the Alan Paton Centre by our tour guide Sherian Latif, the research assistant of the centre. Firstly, the tour consisted of an explanation of Alan Paton's life when he began writing short poems, his novels –the most famous being "Cry, the Beloved Country"– as well as his family life and some other interesting facts about himself and his life. We were then taken to a study which was a replica of Alan Paton’s study with his original belongings; it was in his study that we saw his final piece of writing before he died. We were then taken to the archives section where pictures and writings of Paton's work and the work of many other writers are stored at a certain temperature for preservation reasons. Finally, my favourite part of the tour was the library where we saw thousands of books and these books range from hundreds of years old to thousands of years old. This centre was indeed one of the most informative and exciting parts of my University of KwaZulu Natal experiences. It is a privilege that a man like Alan Paton was from the same place that I have lived for my entire life. It showed me what amazing history we have in our relatively small town of Pietermaritzburg. The Alan Paton Centre makes me feel proud to not only be from Pietermaritzburg but honoured to be a South African citizen. 

– Written by Sadie Dass 

(From left to right) 

Shaydene Naicker, Sadie Dass, Sanelisiwe, 

Gwala, Thaiyeerah Sheik, Lebohang Moeti & Vuyokazi Shezi.


Cameron Lea

 Cameron Lea an honours student from Howard College History Department visited the Alan Paton Centre

Cameron Lea a 22 years old honours student from Westville, Durban, Kwa-Zulu Natal, visited the Alan Paton Centre on 28 March 2019. He is studying history at Howard College in Durban. He is currently in his fourth year, after completing his Bachelor of Social Science degree last year. Cameron’s history research project for his Honours is on the focus of South African Border War from 1966 to 1989, and the young men who were conscripted to join the army, as well as the efforts of the End Conscription Campaign.

Hilary Lynd
Hilary Lynd from University of California visits the 
Alan Paton Centre
Hilary Lynd is a PhD candidate at the University of California, Berkeley, where she is completing a dissertation about connections between South Africa and the Soviet Union before, during, and after the simultaneous collapse of apartheid and socialism. She visited the Alan Paton Centre on the 22 & 23 January 2019 in connection with a joint project with Prof Nancy Jacobs of Brown University about the agreement that brought Inkatha into the 1994 elections. 

Assistant Professor from City University of New York visits the
Alan Paton Centre 
Nicholas Smith, assistant professor of political science at the City University of New York – City College, visited the Alan Paton Center in January 2019. He is conducting research for a book on the relationship between death and state formation in South Africa from apartheid through democracy. He visited the Paton Center to conduct research on funerals and political violence in the Midlands and Durban areas during the struggle against apartheid. His first book, Contradictions of Democracy: Vigilantism and Rights in Post-Apartheid South Africa (Oxford University Press, 2019), also drew from materials collected at the Paton Center.

Lona Gqiza 
Lona Gqiza a Master’s student visits the 
Alan Paton Centre

Lona Gqiza a master’s student visited the Alan Paton Centre on the 26 October 2018. Lona attained his Bachelor’s degree in Social Science and his Honours degree at University of KwaZulu-Natal. His did his honours degree in International Realtions. In 2015 Lona worked for The Institute for Global Dialogue is an independent foreign policy think tank based in Tshwane (Pretoria), South Africa. He worked as a research assistant and focused on Southeast Asia relations. In 2016 Lorna was offered a scholarship to do his Masters at the Universidad de Concepcion in Chile, where he did Politics and Governance. Lona completed his MA in 2018 and returned to South Africa. He wants to persuade his PhD at University of KwaZulu-Natal. 

Welcome Mbokazi 
Welcome Mbokazi an Education PhD student visits the 
Alan Paton Centre

Welcome Mbokazi from the Durban University of Technology., visited the Alan Paton Centre from 15-18 October 2018. He is originally from Mandeni in the North Coast region of KZN. Welcome main interests are in Adult Education and Development, hence his current work on the doctoral degree has been inspired by a certificate course he did in 2006-2007 at the UKZN’s Centre for Adult Education (CAE), entitled Certificate in Education Participatory Development (CEPD). And his working experience in the community development field, in the CBO and NGO sector in particular. He is a PhD student at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s School of Education in Pietermaritzburg. His study focuses on the Political Economy of Monitoring and Evaluation and its implications for learning in South African NGOs. At the APC he has consulted the Pietermaritzburg Agency for Christian Awareness’s (PACSA) PC 11. 

Makhosazana & Nelisiwe

 Students from UKZN Information Studies visits the 
Alan Paton Centre

We had the pleasure of having 2 students from UKZN Information Studies visit the Alan Paton Centre on the 11 October 2018. They both are primary school teachers who was offered bursaries from the department to do their Postgraduate Diploma in Information Studies at UKZN. Nelisiwe Maphanga is the Deputy Principal at Alston Primary School in Pietermaritzburg. She is teaching Social Science to Grade 4 learners. She was very excited to tell me that their school was built in 1903, the same year Alan Paton was born. Makhosazana Dlamini is a teacher at Sibongumbomvu Combined School at Cedara teaching Maths and English to the learners.
Aljoscha Tillmanns
Aljoscha Tillmanns, a researcher from Germany, visits the Alan Paton Centre

Aljoscha Tillmanns, a PhD student in history at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, visited the Alan Paton Centre and Struggle Archives on 05 October 2018, for the second time. In 2017, he had already spent more than two weeks at the APC, consulting archival material on Inkatha. In Essen, he is part of the postgraduate programme “Precaution, prevision, prediction: managing contingency” funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation). His PhD project is about Inkatha and its allies and their political action during the 1980s. On behalf of Lynn Oakley, he donated two digital copies of a 1987 video tape advertising the KwaZulu Natal Indaba.

Sikanyiso & Simon Masuku

Father & son visits the Alan Paton Centre

Sikanyiso Masuku and his dad Simon Masuku from Zimbabwe visited the Alan Paton Centre on 13 September 2018. Sikanyiso graduated with a PhD in Conflict Transformation in 2018.

Mbongeni Andries Tembe

 Mbongeni Andries Tembe Master’s student visits the
Alan Paton centre 

Mbongeni Andries Tembe is a master’s student in Information Studies, currently doing his thesis on preservation and access of oral history collection. He visited the Alan Paton Centre on 10 September 2018.
Lisa Santosa
 Lisa Santosa from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities visited the
Alan Paton Centre 

Lisa Santosa is a doctoral fellow at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities in the USA, in the Department of Geography, Environment, and Society. She is affiliated with Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change and is an Andrew Mellon Visiting Scholar at the University of the Western Cape. Her research is interested in the intersections of land reform, commercial agriculture, and national discourses in South Africa.

Marshall Maposa & Bafana Mpanaza
Staff from Edgewood Campus visited the Alan Paton Centre

Marshall Maposa and Bafana Mpanaza from Edgewood campus visited the Alan Paton Centre on 18 July 2018. Their research is on struggle icons involved in education. They also viewed the Nelson Mandela Intimate Moments poster exhibition that was on display for Madiba’s 100th birthday.

Prof. Chris Bolsmann

Professor Chris Bolsmann from California State University visits the Alan Paton Centre 

Prof. Chris Bolsmann is a South African sociologist and a professor in the Department of Kinesiology at California State University Northridge in Los Angeles, visited the Alan Paton Centre on 17 July 2018. He has taught at universities in Britain and South Africa. He has published a range of journal articles and co-edited two books on South African sports history. He co-authored 'English Gentlemen and World Soccer: Corinthians, Amateurism and the Global Game’ published by Routledge in 2018. He is currently working on a book project that considers the intersection of race and class in South African football history. 

Prof. Benjamin Lawrance

Professor Benjamin N. Lawrance from the University of Arizona visited the Alan Paton Centre

Prof. Lawrance is a Professor of African History at the Department of History at the University of Arizona, he visited the APC on 6 June 2018 to conduct some research. Prof. Lawrance is writing a history of Dugmore Boetie, author of Familiarity is the Kingdom of the Lost (1969). Dugmore Boetie was a South African writer and journalist and spent time in Natal playing in a jazz band. He also spent his final days in Nqutu in hospital, where Dr Barker worked. Prof. Lawrance used the APC archives to learn more about Dr Barker and also about the literature collection. Prof. Lawrance consulted PC 102 Barker Collection and the Barker photography collection.

Pretty Abraham

Pretty Abraham an honours student visits the Alan Paton Centre

Pretty Abraham an honours student in the Theology department of the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal visited the APC on the 2 May 2018 to do research on the history of YMCA Pietermaritzburg. Pretty consulted PC16 The Peter Brown Collection .

Ntobeko Dlamini

 Ntobeko Dlamini a Theology Master student in the History of Christianity visited the Alan Paton Centre (APC)
Ntobeko Dlamaini who is a Minister in the Methodist Church of Southern Africa and a Master student at University of KwaZulu-Natal visited the APC on 16 April 2018, to do research on the Life and Times of Dephne Tshabalala, for a Memorial Lecture that will be held in honour of Dephne Tshabalala. The Lecture will be held on the 26 April 2018 at Nichols school in Edendale at its 70th Anniversary of Nichols School. Dephne Tshabalala was a past principal of Nichols school, which is a Methodist school in Edendale. Ntobeko consulted the Oral History Transcript files. Ntobeko is also writing an article under the title “Dephne Tshabalala: The Susanna Wesley of Edendale”. He thanked the staff of APC for their kindness and helping him with his research.

Khulekani Mfeka

 Student from the School of Religion, Philosophy & Classics  
visits The Alan Paton Centre (APC)
Khulekani Mfeka a History of Christianity student with Prof. Philippe Denis visited the Alan Paton Centre on the 12 April 2018, to view the archival information on Peter Brown and his work with Edendale YMCA 1951-1960. Khulekani Mfeka research is on the history of the churche organizations in Edendale and their contribution to the struggle for liberation. He said he had a pleasant experience at the APC.

Fundi Zondi

Fundi Zondi from the KZN Legislative visited the 
Alan Paton Centre (APC)
Fundi Zondi a staff member from the KZN Legislative visited the Alan Paton Centre on 11 April 2018, to do research on Winnie Madikizela-Mandela for a Memorial Service. There will be a Special Sitting in the Legislative for Winnie Madikizela-Mandela on the 13 April 2018 at 11am.

Z.Sithole & N. Mnandi

 Members of ANC visits the Alan Paton Centre (APC) to do research on Winne Madikizela-Mandela
The Alan Paton Centre & Struggle Archives had a pleasure in assisting two members of the ANC, Mrs Z. Sithole and M/s N. Mnandi from Pietermaritzburg who visited the Centre on 4 April 2018, to do research for a memorial service for Winnie Madikizela-Mandela . The memorial service will be held at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall. Winnie passed away on 2 April 2018 in Johannesburg.
Prof. P. Denis & Students
Students from the History of Christianity Honours visited 
the Alan Paton Centre (APC)
Professor Philippe Denis from the School of Religion & Theology and 6 students, visited the Alan Paton Centre on 20 March 2018. The visit was part of the History of Christianity honours postgraduate module aimed at introducing students to the use of archival documents for research on the history of the Christian communities in South Africa and beyond. Pictured with Prof. Denis are Khulekani Mfeka (South Africa), Francis Bobaikuu (Ghana), Hanna Lechler (Germany), Daniel Stockler (Germany), Pretty Abraham (Zimbabwe) and Nimran Longbap (Nigeria). The APC staff provided an overview of the collections dealing with religion during the struggle period. The students were encouraged to visit the centre to obtain detailed information of the collections housed at the APC. 
Roy Isacowitz and Steven Isacowitz visits the Alan Paton Centre (APC)

The APC had the honour in assisting the 2 sons of Jock Isacowitz who was the a member of the Liberal Party in Johannesburg. His son Roy Isacowitz a retired journalist lives in Tel Aviv, Israel and Steven Isacowitz a retired medical doctor lives in Cape Town came to the APC on 15 March 2018 to do research. They are writing a book on Jock Isacowitz. They have grown up with great awareness of Jock’s role in World War 2, the Springbok Legion and the Liberal Party of South Africa, but their knowledge is mostly based on anecdotes from their mother and other people. Jock Isacowitz passed away in 1962 at the age of 46 years, Roy was 9 years old and Steven was only 6 years old. They are now setting out to try and get a fuller and more detailed picture of Jock’s life. They have seen the Leo Marquard and Margaret Ballinger papers at UCT after visiting the Alan Paton Centre, they are going to Wits University, as well as the Pretoria where the military archives are kept.

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Cécile Maréchal 
Cécile Maréchal from Réunion, LEGTA visits the Alan Paton Centre 
The French department at the University Of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) hosted 3 visitors from a higher education institute from Réunion, LEGTA, from 5-6 March 2018. One of them, Cécile Maréchal, a librarian visited the Alan Paton Centre & Struggle Archives (APC) on 6 March 2018. The APC provided an extensive visit to Cécile which included a mixture of presentation, guided tour and time for autonomous exploration and research. Her objective is to find best practices in order to develop the resource centre at her institution in Réunion.The visit is part of an Erasmus+ exchange programme, and it is hoped to reciprocate the visit to Réunion later in the year.

Aljoscha Tillmanns 
Aljoscha Tillmanns a researcher from Germany visits the 
Alan Paton Centre
Aljoscha Tillmanns, a PhD student in history at the University Duisburg-Essen, Germany, visited the Alan Paton Centre and Struggle Archives from 29 September to 13 October 2017. In Essen, he is part of the postgraduate programme “Precaution, prevision, prediction: managing contingency” funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation). His PhD project is about Inkatha and their political action during the 1980s, for which the APC holds great archival material. In the past years, he also conducted some research on cooperation of the German Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (Konrad Adenauer Foundation) and other German institutions with Inkatha. His broader interests are South Africa’s history during the 20th century, especially Apartheid and resistance to Apartheid, but also the history of Zimbabwe and Namibia. At the APC, Aljoscha Tillmanns consulted the collections of former members of the Buthelezi Commission and the KwaZulu Natal Indaba, but also the magnificent Natal Room collection compiled by Gerhard Maré. During his stay in South Africa, he visited the Campbell Collections and the Durban Archives Repository as well as several libraries of UKZN and the UNISA archives. Due to the rare collections of the APC, he plans to return to the APC in 2018.

Dr. Ana Stevenson 
Dr. Ana Stevenson an Australian researcher visits the Alan Paton Centre
Dr. Ana Stevenson is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the International Studies Group at the University of the Free State. Originally from Australia, she moved to South Africa in January 2016 after receiving her Ph.D. from The University of Queensland in May 2015. Between October 10 and 11, 2017, she consulted the Natal Midlands Black Sash Papers and the Mary Kleinenberg Collection at the Alan Paton Centre and Struggle Archive. Dr. Stevenson is particularly interested in how the Black Sash engaged with issues relating to gender in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Her research is more broadly concerned with questions of gender, race, and class in late-twentieth-century transnational feminist and women’s movements in the United States, Australia, and South Africa.
Kabir Abdulkareem 
Kabir Abdulkareem from Nigeria visits the Alan Paton Centre

Kabir Abdulkareem visited the Alan Paton Center and Struggle Archives on 10 – 11 August 2017 towards his doctoral research. He is a PhD candidate at the department of History, Howard college campus, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa. Kabir is a passionate and independent researcher. His area of academic interest includes African and Social History, Refugee and Gender Studies. His PhD research focuses on the roles of African Women in the Liberation Movement, a comparative study of Nigerian and South African Women. Kabir received Archival Research training at Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in the USA under the Summer Institute on Conducting Archival Research sponsored by the History and Public Policy Program of the Wilson Center and the George Washington University. On his current research, he has visited the following repositories both in Nigeria and South Africa, such as National Archives of Ibadan and Enugu, Nigeria. In South Africa; Killie Campbell Africana Library and Archives, Durban Archives Repository, Gandhi Luthuli Documentation Center, Westville Campus at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and Pretoria National Archives. Owing to the rich collections of the APC Archives plans to revisit the Alan Paton Archives and in the future visits the Public Records Office at the National Archives London, and School of Oriental and African Studies United Kingdom. 

Thembisa and Gerhard

Thembisa Waetjen and Gerhard Maré visits the Alan Paton Centre

Thembisa Waetjen, a historian at the University of Johannesburg, consulted the KwaZulu Legislative Assembly (KLA) Debates, housed at the APC, on Friday, 9 June. She was accompanied by Gerhard Maré, who donated the collection some years ago. Waetjen is currently writing on the political and social history of drugs and narcotic medicines regulation in South Africa, with a focus on the twentieth century. Her main aim on this occasion was to find out what was discussed amongst members of the KLA about the criminalisation of dagga in the 1970s and 80s, and the dilemmas that it posed for KwaZulu leaders and amakhosi. Waetjen considers these transcripts (which Maré had indexed during the early 1990s, making them a searchable) to be an incredibly useful but underutilized resource for researchers, and encourages others to come and see for themselves how they help to reveal some of the important tensions and contradictions around politics, culture, traditional authority, land, education, youth, (and much else) within this crucial set of decades.
Prof. Maureen N. Eke and three students from Central Michigan University Visits the APC

The Alan Paton Centre and Struggle Archives (APC) welcomed 3 students from the Central Michigan University (CMU), United Sates of America on 29 May 2017. The students was accompanied by Prof. Maureen Eke from the English Department at CMU. The visit was an interdisciplinary study abroad course on South Africa through the lenses of literature, history and culture. According to Prof. Eke the student’s discussion began with Alan Paton’s novel Cry, the Beloved Country which provided the students an entry into the emerging landscape of African dispossession, especially as the National Party will define it later through grand apartheid. The three students who accompanied Prof. Eke are Adam Kinne who is studying Philosophy and History with his focus in classics, Rachel Sternik is studying English and History with her focus in law and Maria Orsick is studying Public Health.

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Jennifer Yvette Terrell
Jennifer Yvette Terrell from San Antonio, Texas.
visits the Alan Paton Centre

Jennifer Yvette Terrell visited the Alan Paton Centre on the 23 & 24 May 2017. She is an independent researcher with a background in political theory and gender studies working on an ethnography of women's land rights in traditional communities and how it relates to current struggles for socio-economic rights. She visited the archives for background information on black spots and their removal during the 1960s and 1970s

Longmam Geoffrey Pienswang

Longmam Geoffrey Pienswang PhD student from University of Zulu land visits the Alan Paton Centre

Longmam Geoffrey Pienswang is a PhD research candidate studying at the University of Zulu Land South Africa, with the History department. He is from Nigeria and a lecturer with the history department Plateau State University. His research interest is on Nigeria and South Africa relations with emphasis on the migration of people since 1960. He visited the Alan Paton Centre (APC) on 30 March 2017 and consulted PC170 Magnus Gunther collection for his research project.
Odede Israel

 Odede Israel a doctoral student visits the Alan Paton Centre

Odede Israel, a doctoral student in information studies at University of Kwazulu-Natal,
visited the Alan Paton Centre (APC) on the 30 March 2017. His dissertation examines information literacy self-efficacy in the use of EIRs. Odede lectured in library and information science department of the delta state university, Abraka, Nigeria. He said he was very impressed with APC collections. The collection is interesting and informative. He hopes to visit frequently to obtain more practical knowledge on archives and records management.
Corporate Relations Staff members visits the Alan Paton Centre

Monday 27 March 2017 we had two Public Relations Practitioners visit the Alan Paton Centre. Pamela Adams and Shakila Thakurpersad. They were on the PMB campus for a function and decided to visit the Alan Paton Centre, because they are always assisting the Alan Paton Centre with their lectures.

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 Matthew Keaney

 Matthew Keaney a Ph.D. student from Yale University visits the Alan Paton Centre

Matthew Keaney a Ph.D. student in the department of history at Yale University, USA visited the Centre from the 6-9 December 2016. Matthew is currently in South Africa on a Fulbright-Hays grant concluding his dissertation research. His project deals with the infrastructures of reading in South Africa between the 1930s & 1990s. Mathew consulted PC93 Natal Resource Centre Forum (NRCF), which operated in the 1980s as an alternative to state run library services. He was also able to access files on the Education Crisis of the 1980s from organizations in KZN Trust were largely built around worker struggles and people’s education.
Dr Franziska Rueedi
 Dr Franziska Rueedi visits the Alan Paton Centre

Dr Franziska Rueedi, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of the Witwatersrand, visited the Alan Paton Centre and Struggle Archive on 15-19 August 2016. Her research focuses on political violence during the last decade of apartheid and is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). She is interested in relations between patterns of violence in the Pretoria-Witwatersrand-Vereeniging area and KZN. During her visit she consulted the Pietermaritzburg Agency for Christian Social Awareness (PACSA) PC11,  as well as the Elandskop Collection, PC186

Prof.Alex Lichtenstein

Professor Alex Lichtenstein visits the Alan Paton Centre 

Alex Lichtenstein, Professor of History at Indiana University, Bloomington, visited the APC on June 9-10, 2016 to do research for his book on the history of Black trade unions in South Africa. Focusing on the 1973 Durban Strikes, he consulted the Gerry Maré papers. In the aftermath of the strikes, Maré was part of a research team at University of Natal that conducted interviews with workers and employers.

 Apartheid literature students from Central Michigan University visits the APC

A group of apartheid literature students from the Central Michigan University (CMU) in the United States visited the APC on 25 May 2016. The group was accompanied by Professor Maureen Eke from the Department of English Studies at CMU. The students were on a week-long exchange programme with the University of KwaZulu-Natal. The purpose of their visit was part of a “study abroad” course on South Africa which included tours to archives and museums. The students focus was on South African history, culture ad literature.


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  • August 05, 2014


 History Honours and Masters Students visits the APC

Dr. Vanessa Noble, supervisor of the honours students from the History Department of the School of Social Sciences at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg Campus, visited the Centre with a group of honours and masters students on the 4 May 2016. The visit included a tour of the Centre, a power point presentation by Mr. Nazim Gani (Senior Librarian at the Centre) on introduction to the archives and archival procedures, and a discussion of some of the Centre’s core collections.
Students were advised on possible projects for their honours and masters projects.

Possible topics identified and discussed were the land rights struggle and forced removals, sport in the struggle, violence in the Natal Midlands, Black Sash and women’s role during apartheid, and the historical aspect of the Liberal Party of South Africa.

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  • August 05, 2014


Chris Paton visits the Alan Paton Centre 

The Alan Paton Centre was honoured to welcome Chris Paton, grandson of Alan Paton and Justin Paton, great grandson of Alan Paton on the 18 December 2015. Accompanying Justin was his friend Taylor May from the United States. Chris Paton brought with him a portrait of Alan Paton and a plague for the APC. These donations were bequested to the APC by his late father David Paton. David Paton had passed away in April 2015 in Johannesburg.

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Moritz Graper 

 Moritz Graper from University of Muenster visits the 
Alan Paton Centre

Moritz Gräper, Assistant Lecturer at the University of Muenster (Germany)
visited the APC on 1 September 2015. Moritz research is on  New Testament Studies, working on a PhD project looking at the use of the Bible and the role of Christian actors during apartheid. He came to the APC on his six weeks research trip from Johannesburg to the Cape via Pietermaritzburg.
Staying at the Lutheran Theological Institute he is working at the local libraries and interviewing scholars like Gerald West and Jonathan Draper of UKZN. "Thanks to Nazim and Sherian for the great help and assistance to go through some files of this wonderful collection!"

Stanford Thwala
 Mr Stanford Thwala master student from Swaziland visits the 
Alan Paton Centre

Mr Stanford Thwala a master student at UKZN visited the APC on 26-28 September 2015.
The title of his thesis is “The Notions of Masculinity in the works of Alan Paton”. He is supervised by Prof. Mbongeni Malaba, UKZN. Prof. Malaba is the chairperson of the Alan Paton Centre Advisory Board. Mr Thwala is an English teacher at the Nkwene High School in Swaziland, and is the HOD in the English Department.

Gillian Scott-Berning 
Gillian Scott-Berning visits the APC to do research 
For Mandela Capture site Museum

In the recent months Gillian Scott-Berning visited the APC to conduct some research on Nelson Mandela. Harriet Hedley and Gillian Scott-Berning have established an independent South African fine and decorative arts consultancy known as Gilfillan Scott-Berning. Gillian is interested in establishing Nelson Mandela’s links with people and places in KwaZulu-Natal at the time he worked underground from March 1961 until his arrest on 5 August 1962 with a special focus on his last few days (23 July – 5 August) of freedom in South Africa following his Africa trip. The detail of his activities, meetings and movements are not entirely known and huge gaps remain in our knowledge of this period. While this is not surprising given the secretive nature of his work, it would be wonderful to fill in some of the details. For example, it is known that Mandela spent two weeks in and around Tongaat on the Hurbans’ farm in July 1961. Towards the end of the month he was present at two very important meetings; one with the ANC National Executive Council and the following evening he attended a meeting of the Congress of the People (including the Natal Indian Congress, the Congress of the People and SACTU). However, there is very little information about the 10 days prior to these meetings apart from the fact that he was disguised as a worker or petrol bowser on the Tongaat farm. Similarly for the period at the end of July and the beginning of August 1962, it is known that he was in contact with various people in Durban and Stanger prior to his fateful return trip to Johannesburg. However, apart from a few meetings that has been confirmed by a number of participants, the details of this time are sketchy or are not known. It is for this reason that I am checking original documents and oral interviews in the hope of completing the puzzle and would be extremely grateful for any information any of your readers or researchers may be able to provide. The research is being undertaken for the Mandela Capture Site Museum which is under construction outside Howick.

Prof. Robert Vinson 
 Robert Trent Vinson American professor researching Albert Luthuli visits the Alan Paton Centre

Robert Trent Vinson is the Frances L. and Edwin L. Cummings Associate Professor of History and Africana Studies at the College of William and Mary, visited the Centre on the 30 July 2015. His first book was The Americans are Coming!, The Dream of African American Liberation in Segregationist South Africa (2012). He visited the Alan Paton Center for research for his next book on Nobel Peace Prize winner and former ANC President-General Albert Luthuli. 


Nicky Brooks (left) and Alison Cooke 

UK tourist visits the Alan Paton Centre

Nicky Brooks from the United Kingdom visited the Centre on 3 August 2015.  Nicky was accompanied by her South African friend, Alison Cooke.  Both have a huge interest in Alan Paton’s writings.  Nicky said that the Centre was very interesting and wishes to find more information on Alan Paton.  Alison said that her visit to the Centre was “stunning, really special and thought provoking”.



Dr Myra Ann Houser 

Dr. Myra Ann Houser from Arkadelphia Arkansas USA visits the Alan Paton Centre

Myra Ann Houser comes from Arkadelphia Arkansas, where she is an Assistant Professor of History at Ouachita Baptist University. Myra visited the APC on 22 July 2015 to consult the following collections: A.S. Chetty, Eddie Daniels, IEC, Multi-Party Negotiating Council and UDF papers for a book on the Southern Africa project of the lawyers’ committee for Civil Rights under law of international legal assistance group that worked with the liberation movements beginning in 1967 and continuing through the 1994 transition.  Myra was accompanied by her husband Jason Smith.

Myra thanked the staff of APC for their helpfulness and friendliness.


Thomas Leavitt 
Thomas Leavitt PhD student from Columbia University visits
the Alan Paton Centre 

Thomas Leavitt is a PhD student in political science at Columbia University in the U.S. His areas of focus are comparative politics (with a regional emphasis on Africa), statistical methodology, and political theory. Thomas visited the Alan Paton Centre from the 13-15 July 2015, for pre-dissertation research in July 2015. His research at APC focused on colonial state formation, and the ways in which the South African historical experience challenges the conventional Weberian account of state-building as a process of increased centralization and bureaucratization. The apartheid government, through forced removals and the creation of self-governing homelands, sought to extricate its population from the state’s purview, and even advocated for nationally independent Bantustans. The terms of independence and self-government, however, were dictated by the 1913 Land Act. Thomas argues, therefore, that the disintegration of the state, and the existence of rural hinterlands, is not necessarily an expression of state weakness (as much of the literature argues), but may be a manifestation of state power. Thomas is currently using the APC archives to compile a quantitative database in which he will use a variety of causal inference, Bayesian, and automated text analysis methods to estimate the effect of apartheid, colonial edicts on the ways in which South Africans living in Bantustans related to the apartheid state. 

Ashley Parcells 

Visiting researcher from Emory University, USA

Ashley Parcells from the Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA visited the Alan Paton Centre on 17 July 2015.  Ashley is a PhD candidate and is undertaking research in rural development in Zululand.  She sourced information from the AFRA collection. 

Morgainne du Plessis 

Morgainne du Plessis visits the Alan Paton Centre to conduct research for her Master's thesis

 Morgainne du Plessis is currently working on her thesis for her Master’s Degree in History. She visited the Alan Paton Centre from the 7th to 10th July 2015 to do research for her thesis which is entitled “How Beloved was Alan Paton’s Beloved Country? A Historical Appraisal”. Her study aims to provide evidence that Alan Paton, even though first and foremost a fictional novelist, is also a literary activist using his novel as a ‘war of words” as a form of resistance against the apartheid regime. Supervising Morgainne’s thesis is Professor Karen Harris. Morgainne is a staff and student at the University of Pretoria in the Department of Historical and Heritage Studies. 

Morgainne said that “the week spent at the Alan Paton Centre was absolutely wonderful. Both Mr. Gani and Ms. Latif were both so kind, helpful and accommodating. I truly feel incredibly privileged to have done my research in such an organised archive. The sheer work that must be put in to keep such a goldmine of primary sources in order must be a challenging and tiresome task. And for that I want to give my sincere thanks to both Mr. Gani and Ms. Latif for allowing me to work with the Alan Paton Collection. It’s doing research in places like the Alan Paton Centre that truly keeps my passion for history alive”.


Samantha Mansfield-Barry 

Samantha Mansfield-Barry visits the Alan Paton Centre

to research the 1973 Durban Strikes

Samantha Mansfield-Barry visited the Centre from the 6th to 9th July 2015.  Samantha is an Honours student at the University of Witwatersrand.  Her research topic is focused on the 1973 Durban Strikes.  Samantha consulted the Gerhard Mare Collection which is PC 126.  

Charles Manda 
 Charles Manda a researcher from UNISA visited the
 Alan Paton Centre 

Charles Manda visited the Centre on the 6 July 2015. Charles works at the Research Institute for Theology and Religion at UNISA in Pretoria. Charles intends to write a paper for a publication in an accredited journal. His research is on PACSA’s role in building and healing. He consulted the PC11: PACSA collection.
Sandile Kheswa 

History Honours student research on the Seven Days War

Sandile Kheswa is a history honours student from the School of Social Science, University of KwaZulu-Natal.  Sandile visited the Centre on 28 June 2015 to undertake research as part of his history honours programme.  His topic is the Seven Day War.  His research focuses on the political violence during the Seven Day War.  Sandile consulted PC 14, John Aitchison collection and PC 186, The Elandskop collection.

Qhelani Msweli 

History Honours student research on non-racial cricket

Qhelani Msweli is a history honours student from the School of Social Science, University of KwaZulu-Natal.  Qhelani visited the Centre on 18 March 2015 to undertake research as part of his history honours programme.  His topic is Natal Midlands non-racial cricket struggle, 1970-1990.  The purpose of his research is to understand the role played by cricket against apartheid.  Qhelani consulted PC 124 which is the Aurora Cricket Club and non-racial sport in Pietermaritzburg collection donated by Michael Hickson and Christopher Merrett.

Dr Gillian Gane 
Dr.Gillian Gane from Cambridge visits the Alan Paton Centre

In March 2015, Gillian Gane came from Cambridge, Massachusetts, to spend a week at the Alan Paton Centre researching the history of the African Resistance Movement. Dr. Gane herself was a minor member of the ARM, which at the beginning of the 1960s was the first organization in South Africa to move beyond non-violence. 
“In an underground organization,” Dr. Gane says, “security demands secrecy. So if security works as it should, you don’t know the names of more than a handful of your fellows—it’s a bit like belonging to a community of ghosts.” Half a century after her actual involvement in the ARM, Dr. Gane has returned to the country of her birth to research her own past, which is also the past of a part of the struggle many may not know of. ”We need at this stage to know many struggle stories,” she says,“and we need to look at them with a critical eye.”
What makes this possible in the case of the ARM (earlier known as the National Committee for Liberation or NCL) is the Magnus Gunther Collection, which was donated to the APC in 2007. This is surely the most comprehensive collection of documents on this organization anywhere in the world, according to Dr. Gane. She speaks warmly of not only the rich documentary resources at the Alan Paton Centre, but the comfortable amenities and the helpful and knowledgeable assistance of the staff, singling out Nazim Gani for particular gratitude.

HR Executive Director visits the Alan Paton Centre

On Monday, 29th June 2015 the Centre received a surprise visit from the Division of Human Resources. Ms Avril Williamson, Executive Director of HR was accompanied by Mrs Shereen Balkisson, HR Manager in the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science, and Professor Deo Jaganyi, Acting Registrar. 

The three were taken on a tour of the Centre and Ms Williamson described that the experience was “wonderful”. Mrs Balkisson noted that the tour was “informative” and was “impressed with the maintenance” of the Centre. Prof Jaganyi noted that the tour was “very interesting and informative”. 

The APC staff expressed their pleasure at receiving their visitors.

All photos

College of New Jersey_1

  • August 05, 2014

Gustav Venter 
Gustav Venter a doctoral candidate from Stellenbosch University visits the Alan Paton Centre

Gustav Venter is a doctoral candidate and part-time lecturer in the History Department at Stellenbosch University. Gustav Venter visited the Centre  from 22nd to 24the June 2015. His doctoral thesis explores the history of so-called “white” professional football in South Africa. He visited the Alan Paton Centre in order to examine the papers of the Football Association of Natal and KwaZulu. He summarised his visit as follows: "My specific interest in the collection revolved around the fact that it contains some documentation relating to the National Professional Soccer League (NPSL). During the late 1970s this professional league – containing the likes of South African glamour sides Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates – absorbed a number of teams from the former National Football League (NFL), a whites-only league which disbanded after its 1977 season. In terms of my visit I would like to extend a big thank you to the staff of the Alan Paton Centre for their assistance and hospitality. It was a privilege to visit the centre and I would certainly recommend any researcher interested in related fields to do the same."

Ntokozo Zitha 

Ntokozo Zitha visits Alan Paton Centre for her Archival Project


Ntokozo Zitha  a post graduate student at Unisa visited the Centre on 16 September 2014. She is studying towards a 1 year course in Higher Certificate in Archives & Records Management.  Ntokozo was an undergraduate at the  University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), where  she obtained her Bachelor of Social Science  degree in 2006. Ntokozo worked as an Assistant researcher at the Sinomlando Research Centre where she conducted oral interviews using digital recorder. This Centre is located at University of KwaZulu-Natal in the School of Theology.


Ntokozo’s project was about Collection Management Process, where she had to choose an organization or institution to discuss its collection management process.  Ntokozo said her visit to the Centre was very informative and she was very grateful for assistance she got from the Senior Librarian,  Mr Gani.  She obtained all the information that was needed and even a bit more.


Her dream is to be an Archivist or a Conservationist in the Archives Repository.


Darryl David and students 

Students from the UKZN Afrikaans Department visits the Alan Paton Centre

On the 28 August 2014 two students from the Afrikaans Department visited the Alan Paton Centre for information for their assignment.  Mr Darryl David the academic coordinator of the Afrikaans Department at University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) brought his students on a tour to the Alan Paton Centre as part of their Afrikaans Media and Culture section for Afrikaans 150. 

The student Chiree Coetzee is a 1st year student studying towards a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in Afrikaans and Geography. Her dream is to become a teacher.  Andre`Greyvenstein is a 2nd year student studying towards a Bachelor of Social Science degree. The tour was given in Afrikaans by Estelle .

Pam Paton-Mills 
Alan Paton‘s grand-daughter visits the Centre

Pam Paton-Mills and her husband Rob Mills visited the Alan Paton Centre (APC) on the 11 August 2014. Pam is the daughter of Jonathan and Margaret Paton. On reflecting on her visit Pam indicated that standing in the Alan Paton Study brought back childhood memories. She said that the scent of the Study is the same as she remembers when she was a child. Pam was very impressed with the Alan Paton photographic exhibition in the Centre. Pam said she will bring her three children to the APC to visit soon. It was an honour to meet one of Alan Paton’s grand-daughters.

Jadine Sivechurran 
 Jadine Sivechurran assists on research for Project Gateway

Jadine Sivechurran, a Master’s student at UKZN is assisting Project Gateway to create a museum. Her research focused on South African History. Jadine consulted the Ruth Lundie collection (PC57). Project Gateway is located at the Old Prison in Burger Street, Pietermaritzburg.
Students from The College of New Jersey visits the APC

A group of students from The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) in the United States, visited the Alan Paton Centre (APC) on 4 August 2014. The students from the department of Communication Studies, was accompanied by Professor John Pollock. The Department of Communication Studies seeks to engage students and members of the TCNJ community in the study of human communication in its many forms: public, computer and mass mediated, and interpersonal. The purpose of their visit to South Africa is to expand offerings and staff resources for instruction in interpersonal communication, health communication, digital/personal media, and film.

All photos

College of New Jersey_1

  • August 05, 2014

 Sibongiseni Mkhize
CEO of Robben Island Museum visits the APC

Mr Sibongiseni Mkhize, the Chief Executive Officer of the Robben Island Museum visited the APC on 4 August 2014. Mr Mkhize was conducting research for his biography on Selby Msimang and consulted the Liberal Party Collection (PC 2).

Delphine Le Tron-Guibard
Master’s student from Institute of Political Sciences in France donates e-copy of dissertation

Ms Delphine Le Tron-Guibard, donated an e-copy of her dissertation entitled Reconciliation “par le bas” dans le township de Mpophomeni (A bottom-up Reconciliation in the township of Mpophpmeni). Her research was on the reconciliation process in the township of Mpophomeni and in particular the ongoing project of the ecomuseum. Delphine was interested to see the documents on the history of the conflicts related to the SARMCOL struggle in Mpophomeni, and also the early reconciliation process in reaction with these conflicts. Parts of various collections were scanned to Delphine which included the PACSA Collection (PC 11), the Nokulunga Gumede Papers (PC 75), and the Natal Room Collection (PC 126). Various oral history interviews were also scanned. 

Liz Timbs 
Liz Timbs 

 Liz Timbs researches Zulu History for her PhD Thesis

Liz Timbs completed her MA at George Mason University in 2009. Liz is now a PhD candidate at Michigan State University. USA. Liz is focusing on Zulu History, especially masculinity and warrior cultures. She is currently working on a paper on revival of male circumcision by Zulu King. Her travel to South Africa is for pre-desertion research. She has been conducting her researches at the following places in South Africa:
Durban - Killie Campbell, Durban Archives Repository
Pietermaritzburg – Alan Paton, Provincial Archive
Johannesburg – Wits Historical Papers
Pretoria – National Archives
Liz is hoping to return to Pietermaritzburg for a year to conduct research. Liz said she really loves been in South Africa. We at the Alan Paton Centre wishes her all the best on her PhD.

Sebastian van Baalen 

Sebastian van Baalen researches Post-Political Violence

Sebastian van Baalen a visiting scholar from the Department of Peace and Conflict Research at Uppsala University, Sweden is attached to the Centre for Civil Society University of KwaZulu-Natal. Sebastian visited the Alan Paton Centre (APC) in July 2014 to do fieldwork research for his master’s thesis. Sebastian’s research concerns post-conflict violence in KwaZulu-Natal, covering the period 1994-2001. He is funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA). During his fieldwork, Sebastian is conducting, interviews in the affected areas, among them Richmond. His thesis is expected to be finished in June 2015. Sebastian says he is enjoying his stay here in South Africa, and he is impressed with the Pietermaritzburg campus. The staff at the Alan Paton Centre (APC) wishes him all the best on his thesis. 

Sara Nilsson 
Sara Nilsson 

Sara Nilsson researches “Coloured” in today’s South Africa

Sara Nilsson is a master student in Cultural Anthropology at Uppsala University, in Sweden. Sara visited the Alan Paton Centre (APC) in July 2004. The purpose of Sara’s study is twofold: firstly, it will explore the concept of coloured identity and the different ways in which it has found expression in today South Africa. Secondly, it will focus on how the ‘coloured community’ navigates within national politics in an attempt to better understand the opportunities and constraints facing members of this multicultural social category.
Sara will like to stress that her research does not conceptualize colouredness in terms of race. In her opinion, coloured identity is not something biological fixed, neither is it an artificial concept imposed by ‘others’. Instead, this research regards coloured identity as an on-going dynamic process and a product of human agency. 

Zama Gumede
Postgraduate student undertakes practical on archival administration at the APC

Zama Gumede, a postgraduate student undertook a practical on archival administration at the APC in July 2014 as part of her studies. Zama is a part-time student at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and is registered for a Postgraduate Diploma in Records and Archives Management (PDRAM). Zama is employed as an Archivist at the Pietermaritzburg Archives Repository (PAR). Her practical was based on Alan Paton and she said that research on Paton was significant to her as the Ixopo High school she attended had the library named after Alan Paton. Zama consulted the Alan Paton collection (PC 1), and found the biography by Peter Alexander on Alan Paton very interesting.

Jill Kelly 

Jill Kelly 
Jill Kelly plans to write book 

Jill Kelly from the History Department of Southern Methodist University in Texas, USA, visited the APC once again June 2014. Jill’s first visit to the APC was in 2008 when she was researching for her PhD on the history of the violence at Table Mountain. Jill completed her PhD in 2012 and the title of her dissertation is “Only the Fourth Chief”: Conflict, land, and chiefly authority in 20th century KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, which was submitted to the Michigan State University, USA. According to Jill, she now plans to write a book on the history of violence at Table Mountain. During her stay in South Africa, Jill undertook oral history interviews with people involved in the violence. She found them very interesting and informative. 

Jill was glad she could see a play on Pietermaritzburg history called Mkhonto Wabanthu, which was staged at the Winston Churchill Theatre. Jill said she thoroughly enjoyed her trip to South Africa. The APC wishes her well on her new venture.

Chris Dlamuka 
 Mxolisi Chris Dlamuka  
Mxolisi Chris Dlamuka research on Harry Gwala

Chris Dlamuka visited the APC in May 2014 to research for his PhD dissertation. His focus of research is Harry Gwala’s biography and Chris consulted oral history interviews. 


Marc Epprecht 
Marc Epprecht   
Marc Epprecht consults Sinomlando Oral History collections

A researcher from Queen’s University, Canada, Marc Epprecht made a return visit to the APC (May 2014), after visiting the Centre in February 2013. Marc consulted the Sinomlando Oral History Collection and his focus of research was on the history of Edendale.

James Currey 
James Currey 
James Currey, owner of James Currey Publishers visits APC

The owner of James Currey Publishers in Oxford, England, Mr James Currey, visited the APC in April 2014. Mr Currey previously visited the APC in March 2013 to arrange for The New African and Contact and other journals of the struggle to be digitized and to put up free on the DISA/UKZN website. James and Clare Currey decided to start James Currey Publishers in 1985 because there was so much publishable work coming from universities in Europe, America and from Africa itself. Mr Currey donated the latest edition of The New African to the APC.

Natalie Gwishiri 
Natalie Gwishiri in the Alan Paton Centre Reading Room   
Natalie Gwishiri visits from Indiana University, USA

Natalie Gwishiri visited the APC in April 2014.  Natalie is a doctoral student in the History Department at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN, USA.  Her research focused on Black Women’s experiences during apartheid and had consulted the Black Sash Collection, PC 4.  Natalie also consulted the Peter Brown Collection, PC 16, and the Magnus Gunther Collection, PC 170.  Natalie found the information very useful towards her research and enjoyed her visit to the APC.



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