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African Renaissance Deck

Published September 03, 2022 Updated January 08, 2023

African Renaissance Deck published for Nkosi's Haven, South Africa, 2000.

2000 Africa South Africa AWC Ethnic & Indigenous Health Suits Add to Collection

This pack was published by AWC in 2000 to support Nkosi’s Haven, an NGO based in Melville, Johannesburg, that offers residential, holistic care and support for mothers and their children whose lives have been impacted by HIV/AIDS. For every pack sold the sum of 50c was donated to the charity. Nkosi's Haven was named after Nkosi Johnson, a young AIDS activist who died on International Children's Day in 2001. Born Xolani Nkosi, Nkosi had been infected with HIV through mother-to-child transmission. See the box

The suits are non-standard: spades are represented by native huts; diamonds by native shields; clubs by globes or balls; and hearts by a safety pin to which is attached a flag depicting Africa. Each suit represents one of the major African peoples: the hut suit represents the Khosa people; the Ndebele people are depicted on the ball/globe suit; shields portray the Swazi people; and the safety pin/flag suit portrays the Zulu people.

There are two extra explanatory cards detailing the history of each of the four African peoples, plus a third extra card which gives information about Nkosi’s Haven. See the extra cards

African Renaissance Deck, South Africa, 2000 African Renaissance Deck, South Africa, 2000 African Renaissance Deck, South Africa, 2000

Above: African Renaissance Deck published by AWC, South Africa, 2000.

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By Peter Burnett

Member since July 27, 2022

I graduated in Russian and East European Studies from Birmingham University in 1969. It was as an undergraduate in Moscow in 1968 that I stumbled upon my first 3 packs of “unusual” playing cards which fired my curiosity and thence my life-long interest. I began researching and collecting cards in the early 1970s, since when I’ve acquired over 3,330 packs of non-standard cards, mainly from North America, UK and Western Europe, and of course from Russia and the former communist countries.

Russian Playing Cards

Following my retirement from the Bodleian Library in Dec. 2007 I took up a new role as Head of Library Development at the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP) to support library development in low-income countries. This work necessitated regular training visits to many sub-Saharan African countries and also further afield, to Vietnam, Nepal and Bangladesh – all of which provided rich opportunities to further expand my playing card collection.

Since 2019 I’ve been working part-time in the Bodleian Library where I’ve been cataloguing the bequest of the late Donald Welsh, founder of the English Playing Card Society.


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