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’. 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, 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 the South African secret service.

The Ruth First Papers project aims to create and populate a digital archive of a selection of Ruth First’s writings held at the ICWS. It will consist of at least 5,000 pages, digitised and presented as academically rigorous clusters of material, and will electronically publish two of her books currently out of print. This resource will be freely accessible worldwide, accompanied by a website with secondary material including conference items and short academic essays about First’s life and work. The resource as a whole will represent a digital version of the Ruth First Resource Centre that was called for in the immediate aftermath of her assassination.

To visit the Ruth First Papers Project website click here