The story of the project

In 1982, when the shock of Ruth First’s murder was still rippling through the anti-Apartheid community, a group of her comrades and colleagues put forward an appeal to carry on her vital work. This appeal called for ‘a resource centre to service and support the study of the history, economics and sociology of South Africa and other countries in southern Africa’. This centre would copy and transmit materials to institutions in Africa and house Ruth’s documents and other related materials. You can view the original appeal here.

The Ruth First Papers project represents an attempt to realise that resource centre. We aim to inspire researchers, activists and educators by sharing the life and work of Ruth First with a wider audience by making her materials and related collections available online. With our partner institutions in Mozambique and South Africa, we are digitising a selection of Ruth’s papers and releasing them free of charge through this site. You can browse the papers here.

The project is based at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, in partnership with the UWC-Robben Island Mayibuye Archives and the Centro de Estudos Africanos, Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, Mozambique. The collection is hosted on SAS-Space, the library service for the School of Advanced Study, University of London. The project (December 2011-November 2012) is funded by the School of Advanced Study. Read more about our partnerships here.


The project is funded by the School of Advanced Study, and supported by RoAPE and the Open Society Foundation.

Read more about our partnerships, the project team and press attention we've received.

 Institute of Commonwealth Studies    

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