Ruth First

A Biography by Cheyanne Key

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A Little Background

Ruth First was born in 1925 in Johannesburg, South Africa. She earned a bachelor's degree in sociology from the University of Witwatersrand. First was an activist during the anti-apartheid movement and published journalism about the cruelties of the South African government. She was also taught night classes at black schools. Ruth was married to another anti-apartheid activist, Joe Slovo, and they worked together as a part of the ANC to fight the rule of the South African government.

Her Role in the Anti-Apartheid Movement

First managed to publish many works on the harsh actions and restrictions against the non-whites in South Africa by the National Party. This was a significant contribution to the anti-apartheid movement because it educated those who were ignorant to the reality of South African rule. Its goal was to expose the South African government to the rest of the world in hopes of more support for the anti-apartheid movement. Her role in teaching at black schools helped to further educate those around her and in turn lead to their ability to fight apartheid increasing.

An Excerpt from "Ruth First: political journalist, researcher and teacher" on Ruth First

"Ruth First has come to be an icon of the revolutionary hero. This is to make too much of her. It is also to make too little. There is a danger that her real achievements, her bravery, and her integrity, will be hidden behind the mirror" (Williams 1).

Works Cited

"Ruth First." Encyclopedia of World Biography. Detroit: Gale, 1998. Biography in Context.

Web. 12 Nov. 2015


Williams, Gavin Peter. "Ruth First: Political Journalist, Researcher And Teacher." Journal of Contemporary African Studies 32.1 (2014) 13-34. Academic Search Premier. Web 15 Nov. 2015.