Who we are

Basler Afrika Bibliographien (BAB) is a centre of documentation and expertise on Namibia and southern Africa, located in Basel, Switzerland. The institution comprises an archive, a specialist library and a publishing house, in addition to offering scholarly, cultural and socio-political events.


Its books and documents on Namibia are of international renown, and are known among experts as the most comprehensive documentation outside of Namibia. Among its holdings is a collection of rare books with volumes on Africa going back to the 16th century, a large collection of African posters and extensive historical archives of images, sound recordings, manuscripts and ephemera. Its collections are complemented by scholarly publication activities.


The archive and library holdings may be searched online and consulted on site. Specific research requests are expertly addressed by a team of scholarly staff. Publishing house titles may be ordered online.


BAB was founded by Carl Schlettwein in 1971, and has been under the auspices of the Carl Schlettwein Foundation since 1994. It is an associate member of the University of Basel’s Centre for African Studies (CASB) and regularly offers courses in the Department of History. BAB works closely with the Swiss Society for African Studies (SSAS) and the network of European Librarians in African Studies (ELIAS). It maintains strong ties with archives, libraries and research institutes in southern Africa.

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