SCHAPERA, Isaac, b 1905, social anthropologist

Scope and Content

Schapera's field notebooks from his work in Botswana (then Bechuanaland), recording work on the Kgatta, Kwena, Ngwato and Ngwakelse tribes; working papers and notes, including genealogies of royal families, correspondence, drafts of an unpublished book on David Livingstone; various printed documents on the subject of Botswana; and books from Schapera's library on the subject of David Livingstone.

Administrative / Biographical History

Isaac Schapera was born in 1905 in Garies in Little Namaqualand, south of the Orange River in the Northwestern Cape. Here he acquired a fluency in Afrikaans and an interest in the peoples around him. He enrolled at the University of Cape Town where he intended to study law, but after attending a course of lectures by A R Radcliffe-Brown, he changed to anthropology. After completing his masters degree in 1925, Schapera was accepted as a doctoral candidate at the London School of Economics. He joined Malinowski's seminar and was for a time his research assistant. His supervisor was C G Seligman. He held an assistant lectureship at LSE for a year, 1928-1929, and then returned to South Africa. He lectured for a year at the University of Witwatersrand and then returned to the University of Cape Town, where he was made Professor in 1935.In 1950, he returned to the LSE where he accepted a chair in anthropology. He retired from teaching in 1969. Over the years, Schapera made many trips to Botswana and had a deep interest in the history of the Tswana people. As part of his historical research, he made a study of missionary records, and undertook the editing of Robert Moffat's journals and letters and the unpublished writings of David Livingstone.


This collection is arranged in 3 sections: 1. Field Note Books, 1929-1938; 2. Papers, 1940-1964; 3. Printed Material, 1848-1982.

Access Information


Other Finding Aids

Printed handlist and online catalogue available.

Archivist's Note

Output from CAIRS using template 14 and checked by hand on May 29, 2002

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