Back to News Home Page

Pauline Ditala Manaka: Submit Your Memories

In Memoriam

On June 18, 2017, the UCI Libraries lost a dear and vibrant colleague Pauline Ditala Manaka, Research Librarian for Anthropology, Sociology, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Demographic & Social Analysis.

Please use the form below to share your memories of Pauline Ditala Manaka. The memories and stories submitted in this form will also be forwarded to her family and may be used at her UCI memorial in July.

* Indicates required field

Each file must be less than 20MB and have a JPG, PNG, GIF, or PDF extension.


  • "I was shocked to learn of Pauline's passing this morning, Saturday 8/26/2017. I read her obituary in the September/October 2017 issue of _American Libraries_. I was shocked and devastated to find her in the obituary section there. With such a distinct name in libraryland, I knew it was her even as I read and hoped it was someone else.

    Pauline was briefly my boss at Georgia State University where I was a student assistant in Pullen Library in the early/mid-1980s. But our real relationship developed after I became a librarian myself. We encountered each other at conferences and crossed path for some years when we both were in southern CA. She came to UCI in 1989. I arrived in 1991 and left nine years later.

    Over the years, we exchanged cards and continued to encounter one another at library conferences. I met her sons when they were kids and young men. I extend my condolences to them for the loss in their wonderful, funny, very strong, stand-her-ground mother who was full of wisdom and patience and the power of observation.

    Pauline was a mentor and a friend to me. I am grieved by the loss of her to our profession and to our personal lives. She was wonderful to me always and treated me like a little sister. I'll never forget her.

    May God have mercy upon her family and her UCI colleagues and all of us touched by her beautiful life."

    - Elizabeth Robinson
  • "Pauline Manaka was a wonderful U. C. colleague who inspired me to be a better academic sociology librarian. I truly appreciated her leadership and vision in our university-wide U. C. Sociology Librarians consortium group for over 10 years. We worked closely to collaborate with our esteemed sociology librarians to improve services and collections for students and faculty. And I admired her enthusiasm and expertise in initiating and enhancing information literacy programs in the social sciences and women's studies. I think her life and service has contributed to helping to make our world a better place with her amazing compassion and respect for others in our communities. I am so honored to have been one of her colleagues and friends. Her passing is a huge loss to her colleagues and to me. Thank you for this opportunity to share memories about Pauline Manaka. Sally Willson Weimer"

    - Sally Weimer
  • "My favorite memory of Pauline was working together as volunteers at the UCI Commencement ceremony held at Angel Stadium in June 2014. President Barack Obama was the speaker for that event and I remember how very proud and excited she was to be there and to witness history being made. She wore a special scarf that had symbolism and meaning for her and her greatest wish was to meet him in person that day. The incredibly tight security made that impossible but her joy and happiness to be a part of the event was captured in the picture I took of her in front of the Stadium sign. I enjoyed the opportunity to get to know Pauline better personally as she was a beautiful person inside and out. May your cherished memories of her bring you comfort in the days and years ahead. Rest in peace Pauline!"

    - Beth Wootton
  • "My memories of Pauline: fiercely independent, willing to go her own way, dedicated to reference services and information literacy, and always willing to support and encourage junior librarians."

    - Cynthia Johnson
  • "Thanks to all the other friends, colleagues, comrades and family who have only affirmed the tremendous spirit of this remarkable person. I share the link, below, to a profile piece I was lucky to write for Coast magazine (January 2015), where the editor let me choose "interesting OC people," which gave me an excuse to hang out with my pal Pauline and write about somebody whose politics and commitments I admired, and wanted to share, brag on. She looks so great in this photograph, and I think she knew it. Gorgeous, trim, happy! Lovely dress. She wanted to look taller, she said, so the excellent photographer (R. Pulumbo) set up what to me was a perfect shot, practically and metaphorically, with Pauline owning the space physically and yet also reaching (!) for more. And that smile. Wow. Pauline had recently gotten even more involved in union organizing, an obvious extension of her liberationist, anti-apartheid, peace and justice life-work, a nice complement to her scholarly and research career. I so enjoyed getting to know her, however briefly, and working with her, in UC-AFT Local 2226 and as a colleague. I of course sent my own beginning writing and research students her way for consults, and she led a couple of the library orientations for my Wr 39 C classes, offering a combination of drollery, wit, encouragement, generous engagement in the most inviting provocation you could imagine. She was so funny, if sometimes quietly, unshy about politics, with perhaps some of the students not knowing what hit them, but most so clearly impressed with her invitation to them to be as curious, skeptical, engaged, and delighted with research and the life of the mind as she was. She walked in one time wearing huge sneakers and wrap-around sunglasses, made a joke, then switched to her professional persona, full steam ahead, insisting that students say "Good morning" and soliciting their tentative theses and questions, immediately --- how to put this? --- taking them seriously, sincerely as fellow scholars there to achieve something. And they did.
    Recently Pauline was remembered by the statewide Council of our union, of Librarians and Lecturers, with a few of us sharing tributes with about 75 in attendance. Alas, all of the above is, finally, weak salve to the pain and disappointment I feel just now, and the sense that something will be just not right at all when I return to UCI in the fall and won't find her there. I am so grateful for our friendship and easy solidarity. As we in the Movement say, "Pauline Manaka, Presente! Amandla! Peace."
    - Andrew Tonkovich, Lecturer, Department of English, Secretary University Council-American Federation of Teachers (2226)"

    - Andrew Tonkovich
  • "Pauline was a great mentor and colleague to librarians across the UC. She was very generous to me, sharing her knowledge, craft, and her understanding of what it means to be a professional. I am grateful I had the opportunity to learn from her."

    - Michalski David
  • "Pauline was warm yet determined, kind yet fierce -- a welcoming presence and a clear voice. My first year as a librarian, she welcomed me to the Librarians Association of UC, Irvine chapter and helped me take stock of the organization's records to be added to the University Archives. Although she was the Chair, she was never bothered by my questions and always took time to share her ideas on how we could do a better job of documenting our chapter and, more importantly, black faculty and staff at UCI. I will always remember her voice."

    - Audra Eagle Yun
  • "I entered the University-Council American Federation of Teachers Organizing Fellows inaugural cohort with Pauline last year. I only met her once, but I'll never forget her. I was so impressed with her personal history (from growing up in Apartheid-era South Africa to advocating on behalf of librarians) and was touched at how friendly and welcoming she was to me. I am glad she was my union sister.

    Rest in peace and power!"

    - Jean-Paul deGuzman
  • "When I met Aunt Pauline in 1997, She came to visit her late aunt Julia Manaka (my mother-in-law ) and at the time I was still working as a Library assistant at a right wing area called Moot in Rietfontein Pretoria South Africa, and being the first black lady to work among the culture of Afrikaans speaking community, aunt Pauline was my pillar. I remember how much motivation and inspiration she instilled in all our conversations throughout the night with her warm smile and soft toned voice. Aunt Pauline was a living, talking, breathing encyclopaedia no subject could ever be vague. She had depth and substance and there has never been a day where she did not leave my yearning to hear more of her intellectual treasures. Her work will forever remain in the hearts of the lives she touched. It would be an honour to carry on her work here at home to show our own people ( south Africans ) how one of our own has mastered the quest for the publication and handling of knowledge abroad. We have truly lost a pillar, a rock and a genius. Rest in peace Aunt Pauline, you are the aunt I never had!!!!!
    Francisca Mulutjie Manaka (Programme & Cluster Librarian-Ratanda Proper Library, Lesedi Local Municipality, Heidelberg, Gauteng-South Africa"

    - francisca manaka
  • "When I came to the UCI Libraries, Pauline was one of the first people outside of my direct team to come meet me. We got to know each other more those first couple of months when she did her interview with Coast Magazine. That's when I first learned how remarkable her life was. Although we didn't work together often, we ran into each other often and visited respective offices when we could. Every interaction, Pauline had the same smile on her face, vibrancy and passion and some insightful things to share about a long career at the Libraries. I appreciated all of this.

    She left a big hole for so many at the Libraries, UCI and surely mostly in her family. I hope we can honor and celebrate her life in the best fashion --cause it truly was a special one.

    Rest in paradise sweet Pauline."

    - Charla Batey
  • "Pauline was a special person. Teaching an American Factfinder Workshop every fall, she was among the first to greet incoming MA students in the Demographic and Social Analysis Program. At the end of the year when she attended their capstone presentations, she saw them off to promising careers. Her warmth and generosity knew no bounds, and I will miss her immensely.

    --Judith Treas"

    - Judith Treas
  • "Pauline was such a SWEETHEART!! I had the opportunity to help Pauline many times over the phone and she was always so polite, kind and jolly. I am always going to miss her and keep memories of our phone conversations. This news was quite shocking for me and still kind of hard to believe. May her kind soul rest in peace and May GOD give strength to her family and friends to bear this loss."

    - Archana Chaudhri
  • "I was truly saddened to hear of Pauline's passing--My condolences to her family. I will always remember Pauline as a generous, friendly and helpful colleague to a new librarian at UCI. She took her job seriously but she also liked to enjoy herself. I remember late one afternoon-- there was a Latin American film I wanted to see at the Newport Beach Film Festival and I mentioned this to Pauline--As it happened she wanted to see an African documentary that was showing at about the same time--so she said "let's go" --so we left work, grabbed her car, saw our movies and then had dinner."

    - Philip S MacLeod
  • "I will always have fond memories of visiting with Pauline at statewide LAUC assemblies over the years. This is sad news for her friends and family, of course, but also for UC, her academic colleagues, and the profession of librarianship. She will be missed."

    - Dean Rowan
  • "When the Black Faculty and Staff Association was revitalized back in 2010, Pauline was there in service, as she has always been, to help the organization get started. She served as the archivist and was instrumental in the organizations success. I can't remember ever having an encounter with her on or off campus where she did share her smile and positive/pleasant disposition. I will certainly miss her warmth and comforting manner. A true treasure."

    - Gerald Parham
  • "Pauline was a beloved colleague and for many years a neighbor. Her loss leaves a great emptiness that cannot be filled. She was such a warm, generous person professionally and personally. She was always eager to help and sought out ways to support the anthropology department. But she never failed to ask about my two daughters whom she had known since they were babies and who are now in their twenties. She was truly a rare soul and I and my whole family are heartbroken to know she is not among us any more."

    - victoria bernal
  • "Pauline was good to be around! She was a warm, engaging presence who made each day better,
    and brighter, no matter how it might have started. I will long remember our phone conversation
    the week before she passed, initiated by incorrectly addressed e-mail we both received. (What a
    hoot that was!) My memories of Pauline are of deep sincerity and a caring heart. I miss her."

    - John Sommerhauser
  • "It is with great sadness that I write about my friend Paula. It was only weeks ago that I saw her and we quickly embraced and said we have to get together soon. Paula and I worked together as part of the Black Faculty and Staff Association years ago and she was so committed to ensuring that as an organization we were successful. She was such a positive light and joy. While small is size, her smile was larger than life and she always made me laugh, even during the hard times. She was always a joy to be around and she was so caring and concerned to make a difference in the life of our students and staff. I will truly miss you Paula and please know that the work you did, made a difference. Thank you."

    - Fred Lipscomb
  • "Pauline's passing cut short the amazing life of a librarian who reached the pinnacle of her profession (by serving on the Council of the American Library Association) and more importantly, became a strong voice for social justice.

    Hailing from Pretoria, South Africa, Pauline Manaka (photographed) was a student Fulbrighter, in the late 1970s, arguably the first to enter library school at Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia, on such a prestigious grant given by the U.S. to a national of South Africa. She came to Atlanta at a time where her homeland was trapped in the Apartheid era. In joining the library profession, she followed in the pioneering steps of her uncle, Seth Manaka, who would be the first black librarian and later university librarian and library school professor in the country, honored at his retirement in 2015 with his own festschrift.

    Moving to Orange County by 1989, Pauline lessened my burden as a social sciences bibliographer by taking on the responsibilities for selecting in sociology and anthropology. She later also took on Women Studies when another librarian left. In the 28 years I've known her, she was the voice on conscience as the library and the university took on the formidable challenge of diversifying its staff as well as its collections.

    She kept her commitment to the struggles of her homeland. In 1994 (April 24) she appeared as a committed African National Congress member on my KUCI Subversity Show to talk about her organizing work among the South African diaspora in southern California for a historic post-Apartheid national election. She was also quoted in a Los Angeles Times article.

    She kept her interest in and her ties with South Africa, teaching in Anthropology a UCI class for many years on South Africa. She also served as library liaison to the area Model United Nations.

    She was active also in the librarians and lecturers union, UC-AFT. Union president Andrew Tonkovich in fact wrote a very warm profile of her in Coast Magazine in January 2015.

    It is fortunate that her voice will not be silenced, literally, since she provided the "clear narration" (as I wrote in a review in the 9 May 2002 OC Weekly) for UCI PhD student and Student Workers Union organizer Marty Otanez's (he's now a professor in anthropology at University of Colorado, Denver) pioneering documentary short (with Michelle Otanez) on Big Tobacco, "Thangata: Social Bondage and Big Tobacco in Malawi".

    In her narration, Pauline indicted the World Bank for causing economic instability in Malawi, described the slave trade, and called out U.S. tobacco firms for the exploitation of labor in the growing of tobacco and its marketing to women and children in Malwai and other developing countries. That short film is available free
    online, where you can hear Pauline's lyrical voice.

    In fact I recall Pauline often breaking into revolutionary songs from the "struggles" of her homeland when I would visit her in her office in the UCI Main Library, later renamed Langson Library.

    A former UCI film & media studies student and library assistant, Ziba (now a public librarian at Long Beach) did an interview 15 July 2011 with Pauline (as she did with many in and out of the library including myself)on her then-KUCI show Our Digital Future. The link is here: audio. Pauline talks about the influence of her uncle; and about why she went into librarianship: she was into books from when she was young.

    A huge personal loss but also to the profession."

    - Daniel Tsang
  • "Pauline was the first professional librarian of the African diaspora that I had ever met. I was fascinated to learn many new and interesting things about her homeland -- she was a very proud South African woman. Pauline freely offered comparative reflection on access to education and women's suffrage. We loved her most because she expected academic excellence from undergraduates and graduates, alike. Pauline's appreciation for excellence was contagious and students could always count on an encouraging smile or anecdote. Indeed, she was an exemplary "lifetime learner" evidenced by the mastery of knowledge about current social issues on politics, art, history, literature, religion, and social justice. I am honored to have known Pauline and deeply grateful for the memories."

    - Veronica Alexander
  • "Please watch this coverage of Pauline Manaka speaking at a May 2016 conference on the UCI Campus.

    In May 2016, Pauline Manaka was a speaker at the Scandal in Real Time National Conference on Black Women, Oral HIstory, and Politics at the University of California, Irvine, coordinated by the Association for the Study of Black Women in Politics.

    Pauline introduced the poetry of Natalia Molebatsi on May 11 and also gave a talk reflecting on her own life work

    May 11 Conversation and Poetry with Natalia Molebatsi: Today the Silence is Louder
    Brief Introduction of Pauline begins at 16:24
    Pauline's comments begin at 16:52

    May 12: Spatial Meaning Where We Do Our Work Panel :
    Begins at Minute 32:19

    Many thanks to Yvette Gullatt, Vice Provost and Chief Outreach Officer of the UC Office of the President, for funding the recording and web-based archiving of this conference."

    - Tiffany Willoughby-Herard
  • "Pauline was so helpful to the senior seminar students in the spring, providing a wonderful workshop on library research. We had been in text communication leading up to the workshop. One evening, I got a call from Pauline at home. She had accidentally called me, but instead of hanging up, she asked how I was and we proceeded to have a delightful conversation. Pauline was brilliant and kind. We will miss her dearly."

    - Catherine Sameh
  • "I had the immense pleasure of meeting and serving with Pauline as she took the helm of LILi: LifeLong Information Literacy = a group of librarians from various types of California libraries, investigating information literacy definitions, standards and instruction in California, in order to craft effective models of lifelong, sequential information literacy instruction.

    What is "information literacy"? Basically, it is the ability to identify, locate, evaluate, and use information effectively and ethically.

    Pauline was a master. I will miss her as a colleague and as a friend. Condolences."

    - Lydia Smith-Davis
  • "Pauline was a long-time colleague and friend. She was a gracious, life-affirming spirit, always inquiring about how I was, how my children were. I will miss her lovely laugh and her bright smile. A loss to all her knew her."

    - Sheila Morrissey
  • "I can't help crying when I think that Pauline is no longer with us, that I'll never hear her lilting voice and deep engagement again, as I last did when she participated in the May 19th LILi meeting via conference call. I first met Pauline in 2002, when I was LAUC Statewide President and she was the LAUC-I Chair. She was one of those people who had amazing ideas presented softly, and yet felt deeply. I really appreciated her contributions and deep dedication to LAUC, to information literacy, and to librarianship. I also so much appreciated her dedication to the LILi (Lifelong Information Literacy) Group. She served as Chair a few years ago, took the time to attend, participate in, and host any number of LILi meetings, in-person and via conference call. And she made sure to attend each of the LILi annual Conferences. We will be dedicating this year's Conference to Pauline, and will have a moment of silence in her memory. I think the Conference title is very appropriate for that dedication: "Learning Social Justice Through Critical Information Literacy," especially given her life experiences and her interests. I'm still shocked and so very sad at her passing, and wish her son, and all of her family, the very best in this difficult time."

    - Esther Grassian
  • "Pauline had the most unique and infectious laugh! I will always remember it."

    - Steve Clancy
  • "Pauline is one of the first people I met at UCI through work and because we lived in the same apartment complex. She was warm, intelligent, giving, so giving. She never said no, she always had an answer and if she didn't have it she would find it. My students absolutely loved her and one of the favorite parts of my quarter was to bring her in and have her really show students how to do library research. She went above and beyond with guides for particular projects. She was also an amazing colleague she came to every single one of my book talks ordered my book and film as soon as they came out. Pauline was an intellectual. She was always open to learning new things she wanted to know more and she wanted to help other people learn new things and to know more. She will be dearly missed as a colleague and as a friend. The hardest thing I have had to do in writing this is to use the past tense, her work in the libraries and With students will live on. My sincere condolences to her family and friends, Roxanne"

    - Roxanne Varzi
  • "From my first day at UC Irvine as faculty in the Department of Anthropology, Pauline was a vibrant and inspiring presence. On multiple occasions I had her make presentations in my classes to explain about library resources for research, but she always used these opportunities to teach students about research skills in the broadest sense. She was instrumental in building and constantly improving our library resources for anthropology, among a range of other topics. Pauline's generosity, energy, and dedication will never be forgotten."

    - Tom Boellstorff
  • "Pauline made it happen for UCI's Black Women -- bringing staff, students and faculty together for a really special and unique event in the library in May. We are forever changed because of this Express Breakfast Summit held under her auspices in the library; with this revolutionary act she has forever changed the way in which we think about what is possible in our learning environment. Pauline was so very passionate about this idea, bringing it to the table as an urgent action to be fulfilled just in February this year. With the family's permission we would like to institute this tour and the Pauline Manaka Breakfast Summit.

    Sending my deepest condolences to the family. I hope to hear from you in time concerning this idea. Pauline will never be forgotten she spread power, passion and joy in equal measure.


    Sheron Wray
    Faculty coordinate for X Black Women Daily"

    - Dr. Sheron WRAY
  • "I knew Pauline when she was in graduate school at Atlanta University in the early 1980s. She was a bright, hardworking, politically conscious individual who knew who she was; she readily engaged in dialogue about South Africa, the continent of Africa and the world at large.
    I remember that Pauline smiled a lot, reached out to others, and made her friends and colleagues feel good about themselves."

    - ShelbyLewis Lewis
  • "I've not the words, because frankly they would not do her or her life justice. So I will simply say that from the moment we first met -- when I was still a grad student at UCI, before becoming a library assistant, and she and I were working together in instructing a class on computer usage -- the strength was evident, as was the passion for knowledge and learning. All the years passed and that never changed. I'm two years away from when I moved to SF to live and work, but even at a distance this news all feels wrong somehow, an absence on all levels. My best to her good spirit, and my condolences to all."

    - Ned Raggett
  • "My favorite memory of Pauline is when I swung by her office a couple times to help her with her LibGuides. She was an absolute delight to talk to and we got off topic so many times. She genuinely made me laugh. I just wanted to sit there the whole day and just keep talking to her and listening to her stories. I'll forever cherish these feel good moments with her.

    In my last interaction with her, she was fighting me to ensure that gender & sexuality was represented on our web pages, as we were moving toward more generic librarian titles in the Ayala and Langson web pages. This is how I'll always remember her -- a sweet yet fiery soul.

    Rest in peace, Pauline."

    - Chloe Lerit