Regional overview: Africa

The Museum’s photographs of Africa include a collection of prints by Richard Buchta from Sudan and Uganda in 1878–9, one of the earliest sets of photographs of the African interior. Many of the Museum’s African collections are unique records of anthropological fieldwork and travel, such as those of the French explorer and ethnographer Robert Hottot in Congo (1906–8); Charles W. Hobley in Kenya (1902); anthropologist Robert S. Rattray in Ashanti, Ghana (1920s); anthropologist Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard in Sudan (1926–36); anthropologist Godfrey Lienhardt in Sudan (1947–51); and explorer Wilfred Thesiger in Sudan, Ethiopia, Morocco, Kenya and Tanzania (1937–1980s). A number of other collections have been extensively researched and published, such as the photographs by Lawrence and Selkirk of San prisoners in Cape Town (1870–1), and photographs from the British military "punitive expedition" to Benin city in Nigeria (1897). In 2010, the Museum organised a major exhibition and publication, Wilfred Thesiger in Africa.

Zande binza (witchdoctor) in a 19th century photograph

Zande binza (witchdoctor), Sudan, by Richard Buchta, 1879. PRM 1998.203.1.54