Ruth First

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HSRC Press, 1997 - Biography & Autobiography - 225 pages
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Ruth First was a radical political activist, a scholar and one of the foremost journalists of her time. As a member of the Communist Party, she had an insider's view on the extraordinary social, political and labour struggles that took place in South Africa between 1945 and her exile in 1963.

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Page 105 - Who will deny that thirty years of my life have been spent knocking in vain, patiently, moderately, and modestly at a closed and barred door. What have been the fruits of moderation? The past thirty years have seen the greatest number of laws restricting our rights and progress, until today we have reached a stage where we have almost no rights at all.
Page 94 - We, the People of South Africa, declare for all our country and the world to know: That South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white...
Page 88 - ... the native should only be allowed to enter the urban areas, which are essentially the White man's creation, when he is willing to enter and minister to the needs of the White man, and should depart therefrom when he ceases so to minister
Page 107 - The people shall govern! All national groups shall have equal rights! The people shall share in the country's wealth! The land shall be shared among those who work it! All shall be equal before the law! All shall enjoy equal human rights! There shall be work and security! The doors of learning and culture shall be opened!
Page 111 - We hope, even at this late hour, that our first actions will awaken everyone to a realisation of the disastrous situation to which the Nationalist policy is leading. We hope that we will bring the government and its supporters to their senses before it is too late, so that both the government and its policies can be changed before matters reach the desperate stage of civil war.
Page 95 - Slums shall be demolished, and new suburbs built where all have transport, roads, lighting, playing fields, creches and social centres ; The aged, the orphans, the disabled and the sick shall be cared for by the State...
Page 128 - ... of the mass of the oppressed people. But one thing is certain - in our land this cannot be effectively tackled unless the basic wealth and the basic resources are at the disposal of the people as a whole and are not manipulated by sections or individuals be they White or Black. This perspective of a speedy progression from formal liberation to genuine and lasting emancipation...
Page 113 - I did not plan it in a spirit of recklessness or because I have any love of violence. I planned it as a result of a calm and sober assessment of the political situation that had arisen after many years of tyranny, exploitation and oppression of my people by the Whites".
Page 203 - I lay extended on the bed, trying to measure the hours, the days and the weeks, yet pretending to myself that I was not. The mattress was lumpy; the grey prison blankets were heavy as tarpaulins and smelt of mouldy potatoes. I learned to ignore the smell and to wriggle round the bumps in the mattress. Seen from the door the cell had been catacomb-like, claustrophobic.
Page 96 - THE PEOPLE SHALL SHARE IN THE COUNTRY'S WEALTH! The national wealth of our country, the heritage of all South Africans, shall be restored to the people; The mineral wealth beneath the soil, the banks and \monopoly industry shall be transferred to the ownership of the people ńs a whole; All other industry and trade shall be controlled to assist the well-being of the people...

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About the author (1997)

DON PINNOCK is an associate editor and a natural history columnist for South Africa's Getaway magazine. His life has been somewhat colorful and over the years he has been an electronic engineer, a lecturer in journalism and criminology, a professional yachtsman, explorer, travel writer, photographer and a cable-car operator on the Rock of Gibraltar. He is married to the novelist and poet Patricia Schonstein and they have two children, one an architect, the other studying genetics at the University of Cape Town.

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