Africana Notes

Earliest use of the term 'Africana'

An earlier use in print of the term "Africana" has been found, dating the word to May 1902, in The Diamond Fields Advertiser.




IT was recorded in the September 1958 issue of Africana Notes and News (v.13, p.11) that the earliest use of the word "Africana" to have been found in print was in 1908, when Davis and Sons of Durban issued a catalogue entitled Africana.


An earlier use of the word, however, has now been found in The Library Association Record for July 1902 (v.4, p.366), in a letter from Bertram L Dyer to the editor of The Library Association Record dated 22 May 1902. He wrote: "Herewith I beg to enclose you a cutting from The Diamond Fields Advertiser of to-day's date, descriptive of an old volume of Africana which has recently been presented to this library."


The article is reproduced in the record; its title is "Literature at the Cape: Seventy Years Ago" and is initialed BLD. The gift to the library was volume two of The Cape of Good Hope Literary Gazette, which is gradually being accumulated in the Kimberly Reference Library. So the earliest use of the word in print we now have is in The Diamond Fields Advertiser of 22 May 1902, used by Bertram L Dyer.


The editor of Africana Notes and News would be glad to hear from any reader who comes across an earlier use of the term.