General FAQ

  • Yes, the BAB are a publicly accessible centre of documentation and expertise on southern Africa but with a focus on Namibia. Our opening hours – which may vary for events – are listed on our homepage.

  • No, a visit during our opening hours is always possible. However, we do recommend you make an appointment (via e-mail or telephone) if you need some support. To schedule a visit to consult archive collections is always sensible.

  • No, the collections can be viewed for free. However, please make an appointment (via e-mail or telephone) beforehand.

  • The main difference is the medium itself. Published material can usually be found in the Library, unpublished material in the Archive. In some cases overlaps may occur.

  • Library books can be borrowed via the weekend loan from Friday to Tuesday. You can always order or buy the publications from our BAB Publishing House directly via our shop.

  • All holdings of books are basically of interest to us and can be checked. However, due to space restrictions, we cannot accept books, which do not correspond to our focus region.

  • Every year we offer several internships in the Library or the Archive. The number of internships is limited but you are welcome to apply anytime. Jobs will be advertised on relevant sites.

  • We are interested in book manuscripts which meet the BAB Publishing House’s requirements. You can send your manuscript to publishing@baslerafrika.ch without obligations.

  • The BAB do not have any funds and do not support external projects. However, requests which fulfill the foundation’s requirements can be sent to the Carl Schlettwein Foundation. For more information see carlschlettweinstiftung.ch

  • After living in Namibia for several years, the founder of the institute, Carl Schlettwein, already built up a considerable collection on this country since the 1960s. After marrying Dr Daniela Schlettwein-Gsell, who is from Basel, he institutionalised his collections and later a publishing house in the form of the Basler Afrika Bibliographien.

  • The BAB regularly work together with the University of Basel but they are independent.

  • The premises are primarily used for the BAB’s own projects and events. Outside requests will be checked, though, and lettings are possible.

FAQ Archive

  • Yes. Archive users can consult collections once they have signed the Archive Declaration. We suggest that you announce your visit to the Archive in advance (via e-mail or phone).

  • Yes. Our online catalogue lists not only the so-called Personal Archives but also the so-called General Archives (institutional and documentation archives). See also the suggestions provided on the BAB website/Archive/Research and Use. It is useful to consult and research the Online Catalogue of the Archive beforehand and identify collections, files and individual documents of relevance and interest for your visit.

  • Yes, the archive team provides help and guidance regarding your research to some extent. For this contact in advance is essential. See also the suggestions provided on the BAB website/Archive/Research and Use.

  • No. Usually, archival collections are large and diverse. For this reason it is important to research the catalogue and identify individual collections, files or documents of relevance and interest. Also, some collection might not be accessible for all sorts of reasons.

  • No. Archival collections yield unique and fragile documents and can only be viewed in-house.

  • Some collections are digitally available. Many image and video collections, almost all audio documents and a few written documents exist digitally. These, too, can be consulted in-house.

  • This is possible for some photo collections whose individual images (some 2000) can be viewed by using the online catalogue of the archive. All other (digital) collections can be used on the premises. Many audio documents can be listened to by making use of the so-called listening stations as offered by the Swiss National Sound Archives (http://www.fonoteca.ch/index_en.htm).

  • Within the frame work of the archive regulations certain documents and limited numbers can be copied, all depending on the accessibility and copyright of documents and collections. In this respect, the BAB archive regulations provided more details (see the BAB website/Archive/Research and Use).

  • Yes. In the case of our key area Namibia we are always interested in obtaining information. Please contact us!

  • Yes, please contact us. We try and advise you and could also refer you to a more relevant institution.


FAQ Library

  • We are a reference library and do not provide a regular loan service. The exception to this is a weekend loan from Friday to Tuesday (we are closed on Mondays), or during holidays. (See also “Library Research & Use” under “Library”)

  • Our two study rooms provide a quiet working environment. The books can be deposited together with the lending slip on a designated shelf in the reading room and you can consult them during office hours. Furthermore, there is the possibility to make copies.

  • Only journals and newspapers collected by the BAB are part of the Swissbib-catalogue. To research the BAB’s holdings, you have to make use of our own online catalogue.

  • The services of the library are open to everyone.

  • No. You have to use our online catalogue to do research and put the titles on a lending slip. A member of the library staff will then take care of your order.

  • The poster collection is fully digitalized and can be accessed via our online catalogue. Moreover, the holdings “E-Essays/Books” offers a collection of links to freely available online resources on Namibia.


FAQ Publishing House


Author’s Questions

  • The BAB Publishing House has been publishing scholarly works on southern Africa, especially Namibia, since 1971. Its thematic emphases are oriented towards the humanities and social sciences. The BAB Publishing House seeks to promote cultural exchange and engagement regarding important contemporary historical issues and, in particular, to provide African scholars with a platform. Our (cultural-)historical, political and anthropological publications are aimed at international academic audiences as well as engaged readers broadly interested in Africa.

    Please consider the focal points of our four series Basel Namibia Studies Series (BNSS), Basel Southern Africa Studies (BSAS), Lives Legacies Legends (LLL) and the Carl Schlettwein Lecture (CSL).


  • Our books are published in either English or German.


FAQ Bookshop

  • We charge the following:

    • Switzerland: CHF 5.-
    • EU: CHF 10.-
    • Africa: CHF 0.-
    • Rest of the world: CHF 15.-

    Please also have a look at our terms and conditions.

  • Yes, in the case of printed products you can revoke your contractual declaration within 14 days in writing or by returning the purchase without stating reasons. eBooks are excluded from the rights of cancellation.

    Please have a look at our cancellation policy of our terms and conditions.

  • Yes, most of our (cultural-)historical, political and anthropological publications on Southern Africa are also available as eBooks (PDF). A wide selection of our publications can be purchased at reduced prices in our webshop. In addition, we offer various publication series free of charge via open access.

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