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Even as they watched the flames in the Jagger Library being subdued, Nikki Crowster and her colleagues were not overwhelmed by a future that was suddenly unknown. “We were determined to get our library back,” she says today of the veld fire that swept down the slopes of Devil’s Peak and onto the upper campus of the University of Cape Town (UCT) on April 18 last year. Crowster is the university’s director of information systems & resources.

The fire engulfed the campus, seemingly targeting the Jagger where it destroyed precious pieces of research, irreplaceable books and writings. “There was a sense of disbelief,” she says. “You cannot reason or negotiate with fire. It was taking away more than the physical building, it was taking away years of hard work, our sense of memory.”..

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