Ruth First

Ruth First

The South African revolutionary Ruth First made an extraordinary contribution to activism and radical writing and research on Africa. She worked as a journalist in South Africa from 1946 until her exile in the UK in 1964. She then became an editor, co-author and author of a large number of books, as well as a lecturer. She was also one of the founding members of the Review of African Political Economy (RoAPE) in 1974, a radical journal committed to transforming (and understanding) Africa’s political economy.

In the late 1970s First moved to Mozambique as Director of Research at the Centro de Estudos Africanos at the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane in Maputo. In 1982 she was murdered in Maputo by the apartheid state. Drawing on papers presented at the 2012 Ruth First Papers Project symposium, RoAPE has produced a special issue that includes contributions from Anne-Marie Gentili, Gavin Williams and Alpheus Manghezi. The special issue on Ruth First is the story of First’s life in Mozambique, and her broad and substantial contribution to radical African studies.

Much of Ruth First’s work and life remains unknown to a new generation yet her work was of such impressive scope, her activism so courageous. Join us to celebrate the extraordinary life of Ruth First and the launch of the Ruth First Special Issue. For more information on the Ruth First Papers Project –

Panel – 17:00 – 18:30

Ruth First: activism and research

Welcome by Gillian Slovo

‘Writing Ruth First’s biography’ Alan Wieder (Wieder is the author of Ruth First and Joe Slovo in the War Against Apartheid published to wide acclaim last year).

Gavin Williams ‘Setting up RoAPE: Ruth and the first years of the Review’

Chair: Professor Philip Murphy (Director of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies)

Launch – 18.30 – 20.00
Ruth First: Não Vamos Esquecer Review of African Political Economy
Gary Littlejohn and Janet Bujra


Convenor: Dr Leo Zeilig, Project Manager

Date and time:  1 May, 2014, 17:00 – 20:00
Venue: Senate Room (First floor, Senate House, Malet Street,London WC1E 7HU)
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