Sunday, 18 April marked a year since the devastating wildfire that destroyed parts of Table Mountain and ripped through the University of Cape Town, turning the historical and much-loved Jagger library into ashes.
Reflecting on this, the institution’s libraries department is inviting members to come and view the wrap-around exhibition, which is a tribute to everyone who has contributed to the salvage of the Jagger Library site.
The exhibition entitled “A Tribute to the Human Spirit” aims to acknowledge every person who has contributed to the salvage of the Jagger basement holdings and the Special Collections team who have brought the institution to this point of recovery.
Executive Director of libraries at UCT, Ujala Satgoorr shared that a day that started beautifully became etched indelibly in their minds as a day of shock, horror and utter helplessness as they watched the well-reputed Jagger Library succumb to fire.
”Today, as I stood on the Plaza watching the installation of an exhibition entitled “A Tribute to the Human Spirit” I couldn’t help comparing the quiet and peacefulness of this beautiful Autumn day with that of a year ago,” she said.
She went on to say that the past year has been a year that stretched and challenged their thinking about amongst others, heritage buildings, their capacity to recover and resilience to take on new roles, the generosity of the human spirit, and a year of closing old and opening new doors to new paths and new beginnings.
“I invite you to come and view the wrap-around exhibition, which is a tribute to you at the Jagger Library site. Your every effort and contribution has been invaluable and made this year truly worthwhile,” she said.
She added that while there’s still a lot of work to be done, which will take a few years and require additional personnel and funding, they do not believe the reconceptualisation and rebuilding of the Library should be rushed.
“As we remember this day and commemorate the library that was, we realise its loss was truly a historic moment. Being inextricably linked to this moment, it then becomes our responsibility to re-conceptualise it so that it takes on a new identity and surpasses that which it was. I marvel at the possibilities of what it can be,” she said.
Picture: Cape Town Etc