Launch of African Postal Heritage Papers


  • Children’s aid and charity week, Mauritania. 1942.

Postage stamps, postcards, and other forms of postal heritage are miniature communication tools and tell stories about places, routes, and times. Also for Africa they are part of material heritage, that can be made visible online, thanks to the improving open access possibilities of auction houses, collectors’ pages, stamp dealers, and others.

The African Studies Centre Leiden joins LeidenGlobal in putting 'heritage' in the limelight in 2017-2018 and does so in various ways. Starting a new online series of 'African Postal Heritage Papers' is one of those ways. Combining a philatelic hobby and a passion for African geo-political history and heritage, the series' editor, Ton Dietz, will contribute many African Postal Heritage Papers and started with further improvements of five existing ASCL Working Papers.Those were made in 2015 and 2016 and covered the five areas of German postal presence in Africa before the First World War: Cameroon, Togo, German East Africa, German Southwest Africa, and Morocco. Then they highlighted the impact of the First World War on postal history in Africa. Now they are more complete, and also cover a longer period. These are APH Papers 1-5. In addition, three new papers have been prepared about Northwest Africa: the former Spanish Sahara (APH6), the Spanish Canary Islands (APH7), and Mauritania (APH8). 

APH Papers about South Africa are forthcoming, and that fits well with the current exhibition at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam: Good Hope; South Africa and the Netherlands from 1600. It will start with Cape of Good Hope (APH9), to be followed by Griqualand West (APH10), Stellaland and British Bechuanaland (APH11), Nieuwe Republiek (APH12), Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek/Transvaal (APH13), Oranje Vrijstaat/Orange River Colony (APH14), Natal (APH15) and Zululand (APH16). 

Philatelists or scholars who would like to contribute to the new series are welcome to do so: please contact Ton Dietz dietzaj@asc.leidenuniv.nl.

Visit the special African Postal Heritage (APH) Papers page.