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Ruth First’s scrapbooks of newspaper cuttings start from her time at the Guardian as a student. Most of the articles are unauthored, and as such identifying which materials are Ruth's would make a separate research project of its own. We work on the assumption that the earlier, more comprehensive, notebooks are mainly First’s own writing, and as the collection advances the focus changes to include articles with significance for campaigns and other work. In order to maintain the integrity of the archive, we have chosen to digitise the entirety of the scrapbooks and deliver them in sections, collected by date or by issue where appropriate.
This cluster focuses on the scandal around the use of convict labour in Bethal. It consists of newspaper cuttings (mostly unauthored – see Newspaper Cuttings) and some correspondence.
African Women’s Pass campaign.
"In this powerful and concentrated examination of army interventions in African politics, Ruth First produces a general theory of power for independent states which goes a long way towards explain ing why they are so vulnerable to military coups. She gives detailed accounts of the coups in Nigeria, the Sudan and Ghana, and includes material on the role of the army in Algeria and Egypt, showing the kinds of conflict which lead to the situation where the political machinery is short-circuited and guns do the leading."
"'By God I am confused'. exclaimed Colonel Gadafi at one Libyan popular conference. Where Libya is concerned, who isn't? Ruth First's main emphasis falls on the causes and consequences of the 1969 revolution, in which a group of young officers ousted the monarchy. This thorough survey provides a wealth of information about the religious, economic and social springs of Libyan politics, the sudden explosion of oil revenues and the fanatical- often naive- pursuit of Arab unity."
A report on Mozambican miners produced by the Centro de Estudos Africanos at Universidade Eduardo Mondlane in Maputo, 1977. The research was directed by Ruth First and conducted by up to 40 other researchers and activists. Portuguese language.
A collection of interviews with prominent South African figures carried out by Don Pinnock whilst working at Grahamstown University. These interviews were conducted between 1987 and 1993, and are held by the UWC/Robben Island Mayibuye Archives. More coming soon.
These interviews are reflections on Ruth's legacy, thirty years after her death. They were conducted at the Ruth First: A Revolutionary Life 1925-1982 symposium, held at Senate House on 7th June 2012. The interviewer is Vanessa Rockel, researcher for the Ruth First Papers project. More coming soon.
Societies of Southern Africa seminar papers
A selection of the Societies of southern Africa seminar papers with direct relevance to Ruth's work. More papers can be found in the Institute of Commonwealth Studies collection.