Jun 17, 2009
Clarke’s Bookshop, the most famous in Cape Town, specializes in selling southern African books to universities and libraries that teach and have an interest in same. Established in 1956 by Anthony Clarke, the Long Street shop today remains much the same as it was 50 plus years ago: filled with book-lined, wooden-floored rooms spread over two levels containing an eclectic mix of new and used, rare, out-of-print, academic and popular books sold to customers local and institutions foreign. Catalogues filled with books from, among other countries, Namibia, Mozambique, Swaziland, Lesotho, Botswana and South Africa itself, go out to the likes of Yale University, the Smithsonian Institute, and the African Studies Centre in Holland, twice a year.
I spoke with owner Henrietta Dax who for more than thirty years has ventured forth annually to Mozambique, the US, the UK, and other more exotic locales buying, selling, bartering and stockpiling books she thinks will appeal to her customers.