The University Archives was established in September 1993 for the collection and permanent preservation of records and other material relating to the history of the University.

A university archive is a location where the history of the University can be studied and researched in primary sources about to the university.

Since 2004, when the NWU was established, the Archives, supervised by the Registrar, has been responsible for managing the archival records of the Potchefstroom Campus. Support was also given to the archival staff at the Mahikeng and Vanderbijlpark campuses. In 2017 the Archives on all three NWU campuses merged to form one department supervised by the NWU Registrar.


The corporate deposit and documentary heritage of the NWU comprise about:

  • 2432 linear meter paper archival material and private collections;
  • 426 linear photographs, artworks, poster and other visual material;
  • 1952 linear memorabilia and museum items;
  • 48 linear meter publications; and
  • 18 linear meter private collections

Archival collections

Primary records date back to the late 1800's and include the following:

  • Minutes of the Council, the Senate, faculty boards and committees dating back to 1915;
  • Administrative records of the NWU;
  • Private collections of former staff members and alumni;
  • Records of the student council and sub-bodies since 1889;
  • Records of the Potchefstroom College of Education, incorporated with the NWU in 2001; and
  • The Western Transvaal's archives on the history of surrounding towns in the former Western Transvaal.

Photograph collections and other media

The Archives also house a large photographic collection that includes negatives, positives and digital photographs.

Photographs are available on request and can be captured via scanning.

Interesting collections are:

  • The Piet Fotokuns collection - photographs taken by the campus photographer from 1958 until the late 1990's;
  • Campus News photographs;
  • Photographs from the residence archival portfolio and donations from several student sub-bodies;
  • A wide variety of photographs by professional photographers; and
  • Video, film and sound recordings.

Donations of image and sound material are always welcome, as they will ensure an all-inclusive depiction of the history of the University for future use.

Transfer and donations

Records classified as “A” records (Archival Records) in the NWU file plan and disposal schedule, must be transferred to the University Archive for permanent preservation in accordance with the Records Management policy of the NWU.

Private donations, including photographs and memorabilia that have a direct historical connection with the history of the University, and any other image material, will be welcomed.


In order to transfer records to the NWU Archive please refer to the Standard Operating Procedure for transferring records to the NWU Archives.

Request to archive your records - Please contact the Archivist 

Standard Operating Procedure for Transferring records to the NWU Archives


Researchers are welcome to use the research facilities of the Archive. To make your research as productive as possible, you can contact the staff in advance regarding your intended visit.

All researchers requesting access to archival material are required to sign the online Confidentiality agreement whe requesting such information.

Archival portfolio

The Archives and the Museum collaborate with the Student Council, sub-bodies and student organisations to ensure that a wide spectrum of student life is being documented.

Residences, sub-bodies and student organisations compile archival portfolios that are assessed and received by the Archives annually.


Historical Buildings of the NWU

Standard Operating Procedures for Archival Processes and announcements