The African Music Archives at the Department of Anthropology and African Studies was founded in 1991 by the ethnologist Wolfgang Bender and contains a collection of modern African music on sound carriers of various formats – shellac and vinyl records, audio and video cassettes, CDs and DVDs, which is unique in Germany. The archive's current holdings include over 15,000 pieces of media, some of which date back to the 1940s.
Regional focal points are Ethiopia, Ghana, Cameroon, Congo (formerly Zaire), Kenya, Nigeria and Tanzania. In addition, there are holdings from almost all countries in sub-Saharan Africa in the collection, which is still under development through regular acquisitions.
Several thousand newspaper clippings are kept in the clippings collection and are sorted by country, music style and musician. The articles, reports, interviews and album reviews of the Mainz collection offer a rich pool of background material that can be viewed on-site.
The Archive for the Music of Africa is used for research and teaching purposes, but is also used by other interested groups of people (from the fields of music, film and journalism).