Archival Guide

The Gala archive and research facility was set up to serve the needs of rigorous academic research on LGBTIQ issues in Africa, while also maintaining a dual role as a repository of
community histories and cultural artifacts.


Today, we are the custodian of a large number of individual and organisational archival collections that document the history, culture and contemporary experiences of LGBTIQ people from many parts of the continent. From secret diaries and steamy love letters, to personal photograph albums and racy home movies; from formal documents of political, community and professional organisations, to oral sources that detail social, political, legal, cultural and religious aspects of LGBTIQ life; from news clippings and vintage magazines, to frocks, wigs, badges, posters and much more. The archival collections are fundamental to our work and to that of many researchers, academics, development professionals, social commentators, policy-makers and interested citizens from around the world.


The majority of our collections are paper-based and can only be accessed by visiting the Gala offices at the University of the Witwatersrand.

Using the Collections

Gala's archive and research facility can be accessed for free and is open to anyone interested in finding out more about LGBTIQ people in Africa.

The facility is open Monday through Friday, from 8.30 am to 4:00 pm.

In order to preserve our holdings, all archival materials are handled and stored with great care. Materials in our archive can only be examined on site at Gala's reading room.
A full-time archivist, Linda Chernis, is on hand to discuss your needs and to help you use our finding aids to locate the items you wish to see.
The archivist will then bring these items to the reading room for you to view. Visitors are welcome to take notes with pencil and paper, or to use the Gala photocopier (a standard rate is charged for this service).

As some collections are not yet accessible or are stored at an offsite facility, all researchers are required to contact the archivist before visiting Gala. Please include an overview of your research interests and our archivist will advise on the appropriate collections for your needs. An appointment will then be scheduled for you to view the requested collections. Researchers are required to provide a valid ID document and complete a registration form before viewing any archival materials. 

Contact our archivist at: linda.chernis@wits.ac.za


Download/view the guide:
Gala is pleased to announce that we have produced an updated guide to our almost 200 archive collections!


The guide is in PDF and keyword searchable. We also have an index and a list of keywords and themes at the end of the guide! We hope this will make accessing our collections easier for our researchers.
To search a PDF, click on the 3 dots in the top right of the screen and then click on 'find', then enter your keyword.
Once collections of interest have been identified, please contact the archivist for relevant collection inventories.


Happy searching!