Event: A Revolutionary Life: Ruth First, 1925-1982
7 June 2012, 10:00 – 19:00. MacMillan Hall, Senate House, Bloomsbury, London
Speakers: Justice Albie Sachs, Gillian Slovo, Shula Marks, Bridget O’Laughlin
Ruth First was an anti-apartheid activist, investigative journalist, and scholar. First worked her entire life to end apartheid in South Africa; writing in 1969, she explained how her life was dedicated ‘to the liberation of Africa for I count myself an African, and there is no cause I hold dearer’.
Her knowledge of the continent was phenomenal and she knew many of the continent’s leading political figures: Nelson Mandela, Ben Bella, Oginda Odinga. First was an influential figure, who saw activism, solidarity work (for the anti-apartheid struggle) and her research and writing as inextricably linked. She was exiled from South Africa in 1964, with her husband, the prominent South African communist Joe Slovo and their children. In 1982, while working in Mozambique, Ruth First was killed by a letter bomb sent by South African secret service. 2012 is the thirtieth anniversary of Ruth First’s murder.
The Institute of Commonwealth Studies (ICS) and the Commonwealth Advisory Bureau are holding a one-day celebration of Ruth First’s extraordinary life and work. The event is part of year long project that is digitising some of Ruth First’s papers and books held at the ICS. This event is a joint initiative between the Commonwealth Advisory Bureau and ICwS and is sponsored by ROAPE