Bridglal Pachai fonds

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Bridglal Pachai fonds

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Reference code

2003-034, 2009-037, 2014-035

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  • 1895-2010, predominately [194-]-2008 (Creation)
    Pachai, Bridglal, 1927-

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Physical description

4.94 m of textual records and graphic material.

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Bridglal “Bridge” Pachai, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., D.C.L., is a respected educator, historian and author, born in Umbulwana, Natal, South Africa on November 30, 1927. He was educated in Ladysmith and graduated from the University of Natal with his Ph.D. in 1963. He taught at universities in Ghana and Malawi, then moved with his wife Leela and children to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada in 1975 to teach history at Dalhousie University until 1977 when he became Director of Saint Mary’s University’s International Education Centre from 1977 to 1979. In September 1979 he took up the post of Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the newly established University of Sokoto, Nigeria. After six years he moved back to Halifax and served as Executive Director for the Black Cultural Centre of Nova Scotia, 1985 to 1989, then for Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, 1989 to 1994. He visited South Africa during its transition from apartheid to democracy, in 1991 and 1995. In 1998 he taught for a year in The Gambia. During his career he was general editor of the “Peoples of the Maritimes” book series for Four East Publications, lectured, wrote 17 books and published numerous articles on Blacks in Canada and in Nova Scotia, South Africa, multiculturalism and human rights education. His books include “Beneath the Clouds of the Promised Land Volume 1 1600-1800” (Black Educators Association of NS, 1987) and “Volume 2 1800-1989" (Lancelot Press, 1991), “Peoples of the Maritimes: Blacks" (Four East Publications 1987, 1993), “Historic Black Nova Scotia" (Nimbus 2006), and two autobiographies “My Africa, My Canada” (1989) and “Accidental Opportunities” (Roseway 2007). For his dedication, his leadership and his experience in improving race relations and working towards greater appreciation of the Canadian cultural mosaic he was made a member of the Order of Canada in 2000.

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Scope and content

Fonds consists of correspondence, certificates, essays, papers, speeches, photographs, research and subject files, newspaper clippings, manuscripts of published books and articles, reports and other documentation from universities and associations with which Dr. Pachai was involved. The research files and photographs were used in his books, for consulting work and for speaking engagements as Executive Director of the NS Human Rights Commission and the Black Cultural Centre. Subjects include racism in schools and the workplace, multiculturalism, human rights, the history of African Nova Scotian individuals and institutions, and biographies of prominent members of the Black community up to 2005. Also includes articles on history of Malawi, an unpublished biography of Dr. William P. Oliver, and special event programs and newsletters from the Black Cultural Centre. The contents of the fonds document his academic career, private life, research interests and varied social and community involvements.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Donated to the Nova Scotia Archives by Dr. Pachai in 2003, 2009 and 2010.


The fonds is arranged alphabetically and/or chronologically.

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Some of the items in the fonds are written in Afrikaans and/or Zulu.

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Copyright held by donor.

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Physical description

Graphic materials include: 554 original photographic prints, 70 copy prints, 13 digital prints, 1 published photograph, 227 slides, 11 audio cassettes, 7 vhs video cassettes, 2 maps, and 3 computer disks (CDs) containing 89 digital images.

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