The School of Advanced Study has funded the first phase of the digitisation of Ruth First’s papers held at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies. The Ruth First Papers project is a collaboration between the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, the Mayibuye Archive at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) in South Africa and the Centro de Estudos Africanos at the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane in Maputo, Mozambique.

The collaboration of these major research centres and archives is intended to make accessible significant unpublished papers, historical documents, photos and audio files related to Ruth First’s life and work. In addition to the digitisation of selected items from our archives the project seeks to widen understanding and scholarship on Ruth First’s work and legacy.

 These institutions will be working together on the development of the project in the following way:

1)       The Institute of Commonwealth Studies (ICwS), the UWC-Robben Island Museum Mayibuye Archives and the Centro de Estudos Africanos are working together on the both the   current digitisation of Ruth First’s papers for the website, and for an extension of the project beyond 2012.

2)       Where appropriate we intend to select material for digitisation from various archive collections. Material will also be shared between our collections.

3)       Full copyright will be sought for any material that we would seek to digitise, according to the ‘Acknowledgement, citation and copyright’ policy on the website.

4)       The project will make use of our joint resources, widening access to our archives and awareness of events and scholarship – enhancing the out-reach work for our organisations and the necessity to broaden our knowledge of Ruth First and the period of her writing and activism.


Institute of Commonwealth Studies