By Alan Wieder
The following is the first chapter of “Ruth First and Joe Slovo in the War Against Apartheid” by Alan Wieder. Available from Monthly Review Press. ©July 2013.
1—From the Shtetl to South Africa
RUTH FIRST IS BURIED in Llanguene Cemetery in a dusty Mozambican suburb. Her grave lies next to those of other members of the African National Congress who were killed by the apartheid government in a 1981 raid, referred to as the Matola Massacre, where South African soldiers in blackface committed cold-blooded murder. Ruth’s killing was no less brutal: the South African regime sent a letter bomb that detonated in her hands and sent shrapnel into the bodies of her colleagues at Eduardo Mondlane University. Joe Slovo is one of two white South Africans that lie in rest at Avalon Cemetery in Soweto, one of Johannesburg’s massive black townships. His funeral, a national event, took place before a crowd of over 40,000 people packed into Orlando Stadium, home of Soweto’s premier soccer club, where he was eulogized by among others, the Chief Rabbi of South Africa, Cyril Harris. Though the stadium was quiet during Joe’s funeral, on the streets of the township on the way to the cemetery Joe Slovo was remembered by the South African people as they danced, laughed, and sang “Hamba Kahle Umkhonto” (Go Well, Spear of the Nation) in a celebration of Joe’s life. At Avalon Cemetery, Joe was lowered into his grave not by the South African military, but rather by Umkhonto we Sizwe cadres, Joe Slovo’s comrades in the fight against the apartheid regime.
Both Ruth and Joe’s funerals and resting places offer stark contrast to their Eastern European Jewish roots in Latvia and Lithuania. Joe Slovo was born May 23, 1926, in Obelei, a small village close to Vilna, the city that Napoleon referred to as the “Jerusalem of Lithuania.”
He left when he was ten years old and his memories were of a small Yiddish-speaking world and an ear-pinching rabbi. Ruth First was a native South African, born May 4, 1925; her father, Julius First, had immigrated with his mother and older brother to South Africa from Latvia in 1907 when he was ten years old. Ruth’s mother, Tilly, whose birth name was Matilda Leveton, emigrated from Lithuania three years earlier.
Eastern European Jews began to come to South Africa in the late nineteenth century, an exodus that parallels even greater numbers moving to North America. Forty thousand had arrived in South Africa by 1914. Although there had always been anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe, it escalated greatly in 1881 with the assassination of the modestly liberal Russian tsar, Alexander II, who had freed over 40 million serfs and had also eased military conscription, opened up universities, and liberalized business practices for Russian Jews. Upon his death, in places like Latvia and Lithuania, Jews were removed from certain areas and excluded from many occupations and employment opportunities, an ironic foreshadowing of what was to happen to blacks in South Africa. In effect, Jews were ghettoized and were unable to support themselves and their families. In World of Our Fathers, Irving Howe refers to them as the “poor and the hopelessly poor.” In addition, violent oppression, the worst form taking shape in the pogroms, made life unlivable—dangerous and life-threatening.
Though life had never been easy for the ancestors of Ruth First and Joe Slovo in the Diaspora, the families were part of a rich history. Vilna was one of the centers of Jewish piety, scholarship, and intellect and was later a city that celebrated the Yiddish writing and humor of Shalom Aleichem. Irving Howe’s description of Yiddish might unwittingly be a portrayal of Joe Slovo: “Yiddish was a language intimately reflecting the travail of wandering, exile, dispersion; it came, in the long history of the Jews, like a late and beloved, if not fully honored, son.”7 In addition to Yiddish culture, a semblance of socialism began to grow in the last decade of the nineteenth century, as more and more Jews were displaced.
There is no detailed record of Ruth’s family’s journey. The reasonable assumption is that they made the same migration into Western Europe that was made by the masses of Jews. It might be that it was the success stories of two Lithuanian Jews, Sammy Marks and Isaac Lewis, who had both prospered economically when they immigrated to South Africa in the nineteenth century, that led the Levetons and Firsts to choose South Africa. Ruth’s family was part of the wave of immigration that began in 1882, after Alexander II’s assassination, and ended with the beginning of the First World War in 1914. The Levetons and Firsts might have traveled overland, but more likely they sailed from the Baltic port of Libau, which, though more expensive, was safer than land travel. Most of the people who journeyed to South Africa initially departed from the European mainland to London, where they were aided and supported by an organization called the Jewish Shelter.
We can assume that the Levetons and Firsts made the long train trip from Cape Town to Johannesburg once they landed on the shores of South Africa. It should be remembered that Johannesburg was then in its infancy. The city began as a mining camp when gold was discovered in 1886. Rapid growth followed as the camp grew from 300 to 3,000 people by the end of the year. In 1892, a railroad line was built between Johannesburg and Cape Town, a city that dates back to the seventeenth century. By 1895, Johannesburg was the largest African city south of the equator. By the time Tilly and Julius arrived in Johannesburg approximately 200,000 people lived in the city including over 25,000 Jews. Tilly and Julius both attended the Jewish Government School in Doornfontein, the same school that Ruth and Joe would briefly attend as children.
Although there are no descriptions of Ruth’s parents’ childhood, awareness of the geography and culture of early twentieth century Johannesburg Jews is helpful, as is the early history of the left in South Africa. Jews worked as clerks in small shops adjacent to gold mines where blacks shopped for food and supplies. They also worked as tailors, carpenters, jewelers, cobblers, barbers, butchers, bakers, clerks, grocers, peddlers, drivers, shopkeepers, and gangsters. When they arrived in the city, they moved to low-rent neighborhoods such as Ferreirastown, Fordsburg, Doornfontein, and Yeoville. Tilly’s family initially lived in Fordsburg and according to Ronald First, his birth family inhabited these neighborhoods as well as the more upscale Kensington because of the family’s changing economic status. Like the rest of the population of Johannesburg, class distinctions quickly developed in the Jewish community. As some Jews accrued wealth even before Ruth First and Joe Slovo were born, Johannesburg was sometimes disparagingly referred to as “Jewhannesburg.” At the other end of the continuum, poor Jews were called “Peruvians,” a negative, racist epithet.
Ruth at a very young age with her father and uncle. (courtesy of Ronald First)
The first twenty years of the twentieth century witnessed competing movements among South African Jews. The large Zionist movement that originated in Johannesburg with the Transvaal Zionist Organization quickly affiliated with the South African Zionist Federation. Neither organization appealed to Tilly Leveton or Julius First. By the time they married in 1924, they were each involved in socialist politics. Julius viewed the International Socialist League (ISL) leader and Communist Party of South Africa (CPSA) founding member David Ivon Jones as somewhat of a mentor. Jones was one of the key spokesmen of the Party and was committed to non-racial politics. During the 1920 strike by black mine workers, Jones publicly called for whites not to cross strike lines. Tilly noted that her future husband was upset when in 1918 at age twenty he was not initially accepted as a member of the ISL, but shortly after this rejection, both he and Tilly were accepted for membership in the organization. Neither Tilly nor Julius were practicing Jews at the time. This fact is only relevant because the ISL in Johannesburg had various branches, one being the active and vocal Yiddish Speaking Branch (YSB) that existed between 1918 and 1920. Its members were deeply involved in the arguments and debates held at West’s Academy, the Johannesburg socialist venue, when the ISL became one of the organizational leaders in the forming of the CPSA. There is no listing of Julius or Tilly in the records of the YSB: however, Julius First did become the chairman of the CPSA in 1923.
Ruth First was born a year after Tilly and Julius were married, on May 4, 1925. Similar to the story of her parents’ lives during the first quarter of the twentieth century, there is not a great deal of information about Ruth’s childhood. For the first ten years of her life, while her future husband Joe Slovo still lived in Lithuania, Ruth was growing up in Kensington, a relatively wealthy Johannesburg community. Ruth appeared to be strong and vocal even as a child, and the family lived a privileged life as upper-middle-class white South Africans. Ruth began kindergarten when she was four years old. The initial years of Ruth’s education are sketchy, but it is known that just before she moved to the Jewish Government School in Doornfontein in 1936, about the same time Joe came to Johannesburg, her mother traveled to the Soviet Union. Tilly First had been awarded a trip to Yalta because of the family’s contributions to the CPSA. Ronald First remembers the trip as a crucial experience for his mother, ideologically: “For my mother where the dedication became a mission, a vocation, something to pursue awake or sleeping, was her visit to Russia in 1936.”8
Adele Bernstein, one of Ruth’s new classmates at the Jewish Government School, remembered that Ruth was a reader who was articulate in class. Bernstein recalled her being “a skinny girl in a navy gym and white shirt who wore her fuzzy hair short. She was always neat, impeccably dressed and a bit of a class above us.”9 It is ironic that Ruth First went to school in Doornfontein, because the area was one of the immigrant Jewish enclaves in Johannesburg, and very, very Jewish, unlike Ruth’s family. The area was bustling with Jewish signs everywhere: kosher butchers, synagogues, bakeries, and delicatessens lining the streets. Finally, recent immigrant children attended the school.
Joe Slovo was born in the village of Obelei in Lithuania in 1926. Later in life he visited his birth village twice, first in 1981 with his Soviet friend Alexei Makarov, and then again in 1989 with Makarov and Joe’s second wife, Helena Dolny. In the introduction of Slovo: The Unfinished Autobiography, Joe speaks of his early years. He describes himself as a “thin, scraggy youth,” and has memories of a green and ochre run-down wood house, yellow and mauve flowers, the river, and “dark winter mornings and winter nights, through the snow with paraffin lamp in hand, trudging to and from the synagogue school.”10 He also recalls Friday baths at the mikvah, the Jewish ritual bath, sledding, a large house where a more affluent relative lived, and festivals with singing, eating, and drinking. At the conclusion of his 1981 visit, Joe reflected on anti-Semitism and Jewish tribalism in the village and that a hundred-year-old Catholic Church was the most dominant building in Obelei. “I remember the rhyming chant … Jesus Christ lies in the earth dead like a horse. … We the chosen (for persecution?) were taught that we were superior to the goyim, and for boys the greatest taboo was the shiksha—a non-Jewish girl.”11 There is immense irony in the fact that in his ANC and SACP responsibilities Joe Slovo often visited the Soviet Union, the place of his birth. It might be that his reflections on anti-Semitism and Judaism are not far afield from his internal and intellectual struggles with aspects of the Soviet Union during the final decade of his life.
Wolfus Slovo, Joe’s father, was by varied accounts a fisherman and a woodcutter in Obelei. His mother was a homemaker. Wolfus left Lithuania in 1928; Joe was two years old and would not see his father again until he was ten. When he was a toddler his mother, Chaya, sang him the lullaby, “Rosinkes und Mandlen” (Raisins and Almonds), a tune that wished for more riches for shtetl children. Wolfus Slovo immigrated to Argentina with plans to bring his family when he became settled. Although there is no evidence of his motive for choosing Argentina, it is not imprudent to assume that he had made some type of contact with the Jewish Colonization Society (JCS), an organization founded in 1891 by Baron de Hirsch with the mission of raising the material and moral status of Russian Jews. JCS had offices throughout Russia and worked to facilitate Jewish emigration. One of their programs was agricultural colonization in Argentina. Wolfus Slovo sailed from England to Buenos Aires, but it is unclear whether he ever became a part of any of the three agricultural colonies supported by the JCS. He opted to leave Argentina. In his memoir, Joe wondered how different things might have been if Wolfus had been successful in South America.
In 1936, with help from her family, the Sachs, Chaya Slovo prepared to immigrate to South Africa with Joe and her daughter Sonia. Joe Slovo met his father as a ten-year-old Yiddish-speaking boy. Although Wolfus had lived in South Africa for many years, he maintained Yiddish as his primary language. The family flat was located in Doornfontein, the site of the Jewish Government School. The family’s first house had a tin roof, typical for the area, but it was soon demolished to enable the building of the Apollo Cinema and Crystal Bakery, where both Joe’s father and his sister Sonia later worked. Shortly after his arrival, Joe was enrolled in the Jewish Government School, and like all immigrant children, his head was shaved to prevent lice. Although many of the other children were also Yiddish-speaking immigrants from Eastern Europe, they quickly took to calling him the “Bald Bolshie.” Business prospered and the family moved to a better house in Bellevue with Joe completing his primary education at Observatory Junior School and Yeoville School for Boys.
The family house in Bellevue was a row house situated on the tram line just across the street from the family’s fruit stand, a business that was successful due to Chaya’s extensive work regimen from five in the morning to eight at night. Joe remembers being a part of a gang of kids that he referred to as his smoking “club.” He supplied them cigarettes from his parents’ fruit stand until they were caught smoking at school and his father became vigilant about his behavior. Joe writes of his first crush and also of him and Sonia burying their dog, Spotty, who was killed by a car as it ran to greet Joe. He also reflects on the death of his mother, after only two years in Johannesburg. This, undoubtedly, was the event that changed the lives of the Slovo family. Joe’s reflections on his mother’s death are both ethnographic and psychological:
I was not told of her death. I suddenly woke up in the middle of the night to find the mirror covered with a white sheet. The walk around the coffin, the hysterical wailing of women and, above all, the yellow, yellow face haunted me for years. But the shaft of horror and shock, which struck me on our return from the funeral still evokes a shudder within me. As we entered the dining room, staring at me from the mantelpiece was a large doll (a present for my sister Reina) completely wrapped in bright yellow cellophane paper. It was particularly horrifying since my mother had died in childbirth and I expected to see the stillborn child in the coffin.12
Joe Slovo admits that he did not have a rich recollection of his mother, but he does recall her warmth, her hard work, and her being pregnant. He also remembers his older sister, in defiance of Jewish law, privately reciting the Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead, in respect for their mother. Chaya’s death totally disrupted the family. Joe, who attended daily services at the synagogue prior to his Bar Mitzvah, began to question the existence of God. Because his mother was the force supporting the success of the fruit shop, it collapsed after her death. Wolfus returned to a life of transient work, which prompted him to send Reina to an orphanage, while Sonia went to work and live at the Crystal Bakery. Joe moved with his father to various rooming houses in Doornfontein, where, unbeknownst to him at the time, one of his neighbors was the future ANC leader Walter Sisulu.
As Joe was forced to leave school and watch his family life disintegrate, Ruth was proceeding with her traditional schooling. What was not traditional in Ruth’s life was her family’s commitment and involvement in socialist politics. Ruth lived a comfortable middle-class life and attended three secondary schools: Barnato Park, Jeppe Girls High, and an Afrikaner school. She loved clothes and was interested in boys. She was also immersed in radical politics through her parents, mostly from her mother’s influence. Tilly and Julius First introduced Ruth and Ronald to the world of politics as children through weekly left-wing meetings on the steps of the Johannesburg City Hall, where the topics included Western imperialism and South African racism. As Tilly recalled: “When we used to go to the Town Hall steps (to hear Communist speakers) we took the children with us. We made them conscious. We wanted them to have an understanding of what was going on.”13
Ruth definitely accepted her parents’ political education. She met Myrtle Berman at Barnato Park and they became close friends. In the early 1960s, Berman and her husband, Monty, along with John Lang, Jerry Mbuli, and Baruch Hirson, founded the National Committee for Liberation, an organization that became the African Resistance Movement, with a manifesto that argued for armed resistance against the apartheid regime. When Myrtle was interviewed, she spoke about her first history class with Ruth at Barnato Park, and recalled that she and Ruth were the only ones who knew anything about the Soviet Union. Myrtle began asking Ruth questions, but since Ruth did not have answers, she invited Myrtle home to meet her mother.
One day after school I went home with Ruth. Got there about three o’clock and emerged at six o’clock with my head reeling,
Ruth, second from the right, with friends (courtesy of Myrtle Berman)
having had a three-hour lecture from Tilly on the history of socialism, the Russian Revolution, the origins of religion …. without me saying a word! And I remember wandering home and telling my mother, who nearly had a fit.14
Ruth First’s friendship with Myrtle Berman blossomed in earnest after Ruth took her home to meet Tilly. Myrtle’s mother was fearful of her being associated with the Firsts, but she did not limit the girl’s companionship. Descriptions of Tilly and Julius First by some of Ruth’s friends, as well as Ronald First, help to paint a picture of the family dynamics. Berman was clearly impressed by Tilly First but added, “Tilly was really hard to get to know. I can’t remember Tilly ever sharing with me anything about her own life, not a thing.”15 Rica Hodgson, who was also one of Ruth’s friends, explained that Julius “exuded warmth which Tilly didn’t.”16 Finally, Harold Wolpe, who was a neighbor of the Firsts and became Joe Slovo’s best friend at university, remembered Tilly as “abrasive, very impatient. As a kid if Ruth made a child-like statement it didn’t get a very good reception.”17
As a fourteen-year-old, Ruth joined the Junior Left Book Club with Myrtle Berman. They would discuss books, sing, and pull slips of paper out of a hat with topics to research and report back on at the next meeting. One can envision Ruth and Myrtle riding their bikes to Dr. Max Joffe’s office where the weekly meetings were held. Ruth read and discussed politics in South Africa and the Soviet Union with her parents. In the First home, social lives revolved around politics. When they picnicked or vacationed, it was with people like the Buntings, whose son Brian Bunting later became one of the leaders of the SACP. Brian Bunting also spoke about Tilly First, and noted similarities between her and Ruth. “Yes, she’s got good intellect, a very good brain. Very formidable person. A very nice person, but also difficult, very critical; sometimes rasping. When you’ve seen Tilly, you’ll appreciate something about Ruth too, because Ruth’s inherited a lot of that.”18 As something of a counterpoint, Dan O’Meara recalled Wolfie Kodesh telling him, “Ruth is a puppy dog compared with her mother.”19
Ruth graduated from Jeppe Girls High School in 1941. Rica Hodgson recollects that she was brilliant and powerful, but at the same time vulnerable. Myrtle Berman recalled her being “sharp-tongued but also shy.”20 Describing Ruth First as vulnerable is interesting because adult friends like Ronald Segal, Barney Simon, and Wolfie Kodesh used the same descriptor. During her last year in high school, 1941, she was honored as the Literary Prefect at the School. A plaque with her name is still on display in the school library. Her award-winning essay, “On Poetry,” was published in The Magazine of Jeppe High School for Girls: “Poetry became one of the ways in which the most intense emotions of the most sensitive men were put on record. The true poet makes his subject universal and immortal by stirring in his reader the same emotions that inspired him to expression.”21
After graduating from high school, with average grades in spite of her brilliance, Ruth enrolled in the University of the Witwatersrand. However, before beginning she gave her own commencement address, not at her high school graduation, but rather on the steps of Johannesburg City Hall where her parents had taken her to political meetings from the time of her childhood. Her brother described listening to her speech: “What made a great impression on me was the first time I ever heard her speak, on the steps of the city hall in Johannesburg. And she was young, she was a brilliant orator.”22 Vulnerable, maybe; political, definitely; at this point she was clearly the daughter of Tilly and Julius First. According to her close adult friend, Ros de Lanerolle, when Ruth told the story thirty-some years after the event, her memories were not of an extraordinary accomplishment, but rather of her mother’s criticism.
While Ruth was living in a middle-class home with her brother, parents, and domestic help, Joe was moving through different rooming houses, first with his father but then on his own. At the time, Joe’s father was in and out of jail as a result of mounting unpaid debts. At the first boarding house, Mrs. Leiserowitz’s, Joe had his initial experience with communism when he met Max Joffe, a medical doctor and a member of the Communist Party of South Africa (CPSA). Joe Slovo’s memories are of Joffe “shocking the boarders when he talked of votes for blacks and his opposition to the ‘imperialist’ war.”23 Joe later attended Junior Left Book Club meetings at Joffe’s medical office. Joe moved from Mrs. Leiserowitz’s house to the well-known boarding house operated by Mrs. Sher, which is portrayed in Milton Shain’s book, Memories, Realities and Dreams: Aspects of the South African Jewish Experience. Joe shared a room with his father and received spending money from an aunt from the Sachs side of the family. He would venture to her house every Friday afternoon and pay homage, thus receiving a half-crown for school bus fare and maybe movies, food, and gum. In Slovo: The Unfinished Autobiography, he compares his aunt to the Bette Davis role in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. Soon after Joe and his father moved to Mrs. Sher’s, Wolfus announced that Joe could have the room to himself because he was going to move in with a woman called Sophie Silberman. Joe had minimal involvement with his father after Wolfus remarried, and never seemed to know Sophie or his half sister from the marriage, Rachel.
Joe’s political education grew at Mrs. Sher’s home. He was still attending school, but his formal education was short-lived because he was forced to get a job and support himself. Fortuitously, one of his teachers was John O’Meara, who was a member of the CPSA and also the uncle of one of Joe’s future ANC friends in Tanzania and Mozambique, the political scientist Dan O’Meara. In his book, Joe describes many of the other inhabitants at the boarding house and lists their activities: rummy, poker, klabberjas (a card game), horse and dog racing banter, and, of course, political discussions (some continuations of Jewish Workers’ Club debates).
Joe was recruited by the Zionist-Marxist organization Hashomer Hatzair when he lived at Mrs. Sher’s. He recalls a Troskyist who cared more about Jewish workers in Palestine than he did about blacks in South Africa. Joe’s thoughts were directed toward class disparity and racism:
The combined inheritance of Zionism and boarding house armchair socialism (in terms of which a “kaffir remains a kaffir”) and the absence of any relationship with blacks other than in master-servant form, made my transition to real radical politics a difficult one. I well remember the discomfort I felt when I found myself seated between black youths at that first meeting of the Junior Left Book Club to which my teacher O’Meara had taken me.24
Joe Slovo’s reflections are not unique and are as much if not more analytical than personal. There was both theoretical and practical racial tension among South African socialists throughout the twentieth century. Allison Drew documents the historical reality in Discordant Comrades. Although many in the South African Communist Party and the African National Congress were highly critical of what they labeled “armchair socialist” Trotskyists, other tensions and schisms existed throughout the twentieth-century history of both groups.
Joe took a job as a dispatch clerk at a pharmaceutical company called Sive Brothers and Karnovsky. Simultaneously influenced by the political discussions at the boarding house and even more by John O’Meara, he threw himself into left-wing politics. Mike Feldman befriended Joe during their teen years and he recalls him as fun-loving, social, and political. He accompanied Joe to a meeting at the Johannesburg City Hall and they both applied for membership in the Communist Party. Union leader Issy Wolfson informed them that they were too young and needed to work in the Young Communist League. Joe admired Wolfson, who was born in South Africa in 1906 and joined the CPSA in 1934. Wolfson quickly rose in Party ranks, becoming one of two spokesmen for white workers as well as a member of the Politburo. Joe was accepted into the Party on probationary status in 1942. He passionately committed to Party work and believed that the revolution was imminent, a belief he carried throughout his life working for a socialist revolution in South Africa. One of his other teachers in the Party was Solomon Buirski, who earlier as a leader in the International Socialist League had helped forge alliances with organizations like the non-racial Industrial and Commercial Workers’ Union to recruit and politicize black workers. Joe was diligent as he sold Party publications including The Guardian and Inkululeko (Freedom) in Johannesburg’s black townships. He and his comrades would often sit with the paper’s readers talking and debating articles and politics. His initial political action, however, was organizing workers, mostly blacks, at Sive Brothers and Karnovsky where he worked:
We put up a literature stall in the black lavatory structure where we regularly sold Party publications, more especially the vernacular bi-monthly newspaper Inkululeko. We also operated an illicit wall newspaper in the same structure. Since we knew that no conventional white man would ever have the stomach to enter a black lavatory, it became quite a useful base for aspects of our work.25
In affiliation with the Black Chemical Workers, Joe helped facilitate the unionization of workers at Sive Brothers and Karnovsky. At the same time, he was a member of the National Union of Distributive Workers, a whites-only union that struck successfully for better wages in October 1942. As a result, the salaries of Joe and other white workers were raised, yet the strike had no effect on black workers, the same people Joe had organized. He goes to great lengths in his book to describe and analyze union and political racism within the South African left. As often as not, white workers fought to repress black workers because they were viewed as an economic threat. Thus racism, whether it was in workers or capitalists, connected to economics.
Joe Slovo continued to contest the racism that existed within the left; the owners of Sive Brothers and Karnovsky struggled with him as an employee. He was elected shop steward shortly after the strike, but more important, he continued his political work with his black coworkers. In March 1944, he was called in by one of the company’s owners, Sammy Sive, and informed that he should curtail his political activities and be grateful that he had a job at “such a nice Jewish firm.”26 Sive explained, “At heart we are all communists.”27 He told Joe that the firm donated money to Medical Aid for Russia. Joe, by his own account, recalled that his response to Sive was somewhat “cheeky. … My torrent left him speechless. He just pointed a shaking finger toward the door and, as I moved towards it, I heard a deep sigh accompanied by that most expressive all-purpose Jewish lament, ‘Oy vey.’”28
1. Author’s interview with Gavin Williams, 2011.
2. Author’s interview with Albie Sachs, 2011.
3. Author’s interview with Danny Schechter, 2010.
4. Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) was the military wing of the African National Congress, launched in 1961. The literal translation is “Spear of the Nation.”
5. Author’s interview with Jaya Josie, 2011.
6. Author’s interview with Helena Dolny, 2011.
7. Irving Howe, World of Our Fathers (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1976), 12.
8. Author’s interview with Ronald First, 2011.
9. Donald Pinnock, Writing Left. (Pretoria: UNISA Press, 2005), 6.
10. Joe Slovo, Slovo: The Unfinished Autobiography of an ANC Leader (Melbourne: Ocean Press, 1997), 18.
17. Ibid., 8, 9.
18. Donald Pinnock interview with ?Brian Bunting, 1993.
19. Dan O’Meara, correspondence ?with author, 2012.
20. Author’s interview with Myrtle ?Berman, 2010.
21. Ruth First, The Magazine of ?the Jeppe High School for Girls, ?December 1941, 13, 14.
22. Author’s interview with Ronald ?First, 2011.
23. Slovo, Slovo, 32.
24. Ibid., 37, 38.
25. Ibid., 39.
29. Donald Pinnock interview with ?Joe Slovo, 1992.
31. Slovo, Joe Slovo, 43.
32. Ibid., 47.
33. Ruth First, 117 Days (London: ?Penguin Books, 1965), 116.
34. Norman Levy, The Final Prize: My Life in the Anti-Apartheid Struggle (Cape Town: South African History Online, 2011),
11. Ibid., 24.
13. Pinnock, Writing Left, 8. 27.
14. Pinnock, Writing Left, 8.
15. Author’s interview with Myrtle ?Berman, 2010.
16. Pinnock, Writing Left, 8.
35. Ibid., 43.
36. Ibid., 14.
37. Ruth First to John Rheinallt- ?Jones, August 17, 1944.