The Murder of Ruth First
Maputo, 17 August 1982

Decoration

Three decades ago, on the afternoon of 17 August 1982, Ruth First was killed when a letter bomb, sent to her by South African security agents, blew up in her hands as she opened it. The explosion in her office in the Centro de Estudos Africanos [CEA] on the campus of the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane killed her instantly and wounded Aquino de Bragança, Pallo Jordan and Bridget O’Laughlin, who were with her at the time. It caused severe damage to the building of the Instituto de Investigação Científica de Moçambique, where the CEA was located. The proceedings of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission later determined that the bomb had been put together by Jerry Raven on the orders of the former South African police spy Craig Williamson, although Williamson claimed he did not know the parcel was to be sent to First. Both Williamson, the instigator, and Raven were granted amnesty by the TRC for their terrorist crime, a judgement that was subsequently but unsuccessfully challenged by family members. Ruth’s daughter, the novelist Gillian Slovo, later wrote about the emotional and psychological impact that the TRC proceedings had on her.

Ruth First (1925-1982) was a South African journalist, academic and militant in the anti-apartheid struggle who was working at the time of her death as Research Director in the Centro de Estudos Africanos. This MHN page does not claim to present a balanced account of her life or her many significant achievements. Instead, MHN offers some materials collected at the time of her murder and subsequently, which focus almost exclusively on the brutal assassination as reported in the Mozambican and world press, and the widespread reactions of indignation and solidarity that followed.

Ruth First

Above: A picture of Ruth First taken during the years that she spent in Mozambique as Research Director [Director de Investigação] at the Centro de Estudos Africanos, Universidade Eduardo Mondlane. Below: Ruth in a relaxed mood. This photograph was taken by Moira Forjaz during a trip to the north of Mozambique. Moira Forjaz also took the photographs that appear in Ruth First’s book Black Gold, based on the collective work O Mineiro Moçambicano.

Ruth First in striped top

After Ruth’s death, Aquino de Bragança and Bridget O’Laughlin wrote an article on the «development course» that Ruth conceptualised and ran collectively with colleagues at the CEA. This text, available in both English [here] and in Portuguese [here] is essential reading for anybody seeking to understand Ruth First’s contribution to pedagogy as well as action research.

Decoration

Links to Selected External Resources

The Ruth First Papers (ICS). ‘The «Ruth First Papers» are the collected notes and writings of Ruth First, activist, campaigning journalist and scholar. This project aims to create and populate a digital archive of a selection of Ruth First’s writings held at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies. It will consist of at least 5,000 pages, digitised and presented as academically rigorous clusters of material, and will electronically publish two of her books currently out of print. This resource will be freely accessible worldwide’.

From the University of Frankfurt site: «The collection includes personal material of First and her immediate family such as correspondence and financial records, papers relating to First’s work as a journalist in South Africa, as a university lecturer, an anti-apartheid activist, and as an author and editor of numerous books and articles on Africa and other political topics. Also included are research papers and printed material relating to First and her family, collected both during her lifetime and after her death … individual deposits … have been presented separately to the Institute of Commonwealth Studies». Includes downloadable PDF files of catalogues of the materials. Click here to jump to the main project page, and here to jump to a description on another site.

Ruth First Educational Trust. The Ruth First Educational Trust provides opportunities for students from southern Africa to undertake postgraduate study at Durham University, where Ruth worked during her years in the United Kingdom. Click here to go to the website.

September-December 1982
Gavin Williams. Ruth First: a preliminary bibliography. Review of African Political Economy no.25 (September-December 1982), pages 54-64. JSTOR stable URL [requires subscription].

1983
Shula Marks. Ruth First: a tribute. Journal of Southern African Studies vol.10 no.1 (1983), pages 123-128. Click here to access the article [requires subscription].

1983
AnnMarie Wolpe. Tribute to Ruth First. Feminist Review vol.13 (1983), pages 3-4. Click here to access the article [requires subscription].

2008
João Paulo Borges Coelho. Memories of Ruth First in Mozambique. Review of African Political Economy vol.35 no.117 (2008), pages 500-507. Click here to access the article [requires subscription].

Decoration

Memorial Conferences: London and Maputo

Above: SABC television coverage of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies and ROAPE event in memory of Ruth First, which took place in June 2012 [see poster below].

Ruth First Conference Ruth First Conference

Above: in 2012 two events were held to mark the 30th anniversary of Ruth’s murder and to celebrate her life. One, in London on 7 June, was organised by the Institute of Commonwealth Studies and the Review of African Political Economy [ROAPE], and consisted of talks by people who had known Ruth in South Africa, England and Mozambique. ROAPE is planning to publish some of the contributions in a special issue early in 2014. The second event was a more formal academic conference organised by the Centro de Estudos Africanos in Maputo, and took place in November 2012, around the theme «African Intellectuals and the Challenges of the 21st Century».

New Books about Ruth First

Pinnock cover Wieder cover

Above: Don Pinnock’s volume contains new details to mark the 30th anniversary of the assassination, as well as key writings, an exhaustive bibliography, and suggestions for further reading. Alan Wieder’s book is the first extended biography of both Ruth First and Joe Slovo. It draws on primary and secondary sources, and an extensive oral history that he has collected over many years. He weaves the documentary record together with personal interviews. Click on the images to see more details about these books.

Decoration

MHN Resources

The resources presented below are organised into 14 categories, namely: 1. Ruth First in Mozambique; 2. The Social Science Conference in Maputo, August 1982; 3. The Murder; 4. The Dollar Brand-Abdullah Ibrahim Concert; 5. The Funeral; 6. World Reaction to the Murder: Outrage and Condemnation; 7. Responsibility for Ruth First’s Murder; 8. The Aftermath of the Assassination; 9. Tributes, Statements, Obituaries; 10. Poetic Tributes; 11. Aquino de Bragança, Pallo Jordan, Bridget O’Laughlin; the Wounded; 12. The Context: South Africa’s Assaults on Its Neighbours; 13. Ruth First’s Legacy; 14. Some Book Reviews. Click on the green buttons below to jump directly to a particular section. Click on the folder icon to the left to download all documents in a single 22 Mb. zipped file.

Ruth in Mozambique The Conference The Murder The Concert by Dollar Brand Ruth's Funeral World Reaction Who was Responsible? The Aftermath Tributes Poetic Tributes The Wounded The Context of the Attack Ruth's Legacy Book Reviews Blank

1. Ruth First in Mozambique

In an interview published in 1989, Ruth First’s daughter Gillian Slovo commented: ‘She changed in Mozambique; she softened. I think she belonged in Mozambique in a way that she never belonged to England. It was her home, and she meant something to that society, to those people’.

1980
Ruth First. Mozambique. New African Yearbook [London] (1980), p.230-237. In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 1.2 Mb. Accredited to Ruth First on the contents page, this piece presents an fairly detailed summary of her views on the Mozambican revolution in 1980, after she had been at the CEA for just over a year.

14 August 1980
Blind banning. Daily News [Durban] (14 August 1980). In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 43 kb. Ruth First’s book on Olive Schreiner was banned in South Africa, not for any reason related to content but simply because she was the author.

2. The Social Science Conference in Maputo, August 1982

The week before her death, Ruth First and all the members of the CEA were involved in hosting an important conference on social science research in the southern African region, held with the support and encouragement of UNESCO. The documentation presented here includes transcripts of two excerpts from an intervention made by Ruth during the afternoon session on 13 August.

11 August 1982
Reunião sobre ciências sociais: África do Sul em debate. Notícias [Maputo] (11 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 90 kb.

13 August 1982
Carlos Cardoso. Que marxismo na África austral? Notícias [Maputo] (13 August 1982), p.3. In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 165 kb.

13 August 1982
Ruth First. Excerpt from recording of Ruth First speaking at the Social Science Conference in Maputo, afternoon session of 13 August 1982. Maputo, 13 August 1982, 5 pages. In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 414 kb. This transcript was made by Michael Wolfers for Aquino de Bragança and Bridget O’Laughlin from a tape recording of the proceedings, some time in 1983, and is acknowledged on p.164 of the article ‘The work of Ruth First in the Centre of African Studies: the development course’ Review vol.8 no.2 (Fall 1984), downloadable here; Portuguese version «O trabalho de Ruth First no Centro de Estudos Africanos: o curso de desenvolvimento» Estudos Moçambicanos no.14 (Março de 1996), p.126, downloadable here.

13 August 1982
Ruth First. Ruth First speaking in Maputo, 13 August 1982. Maputo, 13 August 1982, 2 pages. In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 162 kb. This is the shorter of two transcripts made by Michael Wolfers for Aquino de Bragança and Bridget O’Laughlin from a tape recording of the proceedings, some time in 1983, and is acknowledged on p.164 of the article ‘The work of Ruth First in the Centre of African Studies: the development course’ Issue vol.8 no.2 (Fall 1984), downloadable here; Portuguese version «O trabalho de Ruth First no Centro de Estudos Africanos: o curso de desenvolvimento» Estudos Moçambicanos no.14 (Março de 1996), p.126, downloadable here.

14 August 1982
Contributo possível das ciências sociais: reduzir dependência em relação à RAS. Notícias [Maputo] (14 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 132 kb.

3. The Murder

17 August 1982
Ruth First killed by bomb. AIM [Maputo] (17 August 1982). In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 48 kb. The first report of the murder, issued by the Mozambique News Agency AIM within hours of the event.

18 August 1982
Atentado em Maputo: envelope-armadilha matou Ruth First, Aquino de Bragança ferido. Jornal de Notícias [Porto] (18 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 45 kb.

18 August 1982
Atentado em Maputo mata Ruth First. A Capital [Lisbon] (18 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 98 kb.

18 August 1982
Atentado no Maputo mata uma dirigente do CNA. Correio do Minho [Braga] (18 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 42 kb.

18 August 1982
Atentado no Maputo vitimou Ruth First. Diário de Notícias [Lisbon] (18 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 22 kb.

18 August 1982
Com carta armadilhada, morta dirigente do CNA. O Dia [Lisbon] (18 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 37 kb.

18 August 1982
Encomenda-bomba mata no Maputo dirigente do ANC. O Diário [Lisbon] (18 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 36 kb.

18 August 1982
Explosão duma bomba: morreu no Maputo dirigente do ANC. Comércio do Porto [Porto] (18 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 47 kb.

18 August 1982
Maputo: atentado vitima dirigente da [sic] ANC, Aquino de Bragança ficou ferido. Diário de Lisboa [Lisbon] (18 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 75 kb.

18 August 1982
Mord an ANC-Mitglied: Heimtückisches Attentat der Geheimdienste Pretorias [Killing of ANC member: treacherous assassination by Pretoria’s secret services]. Neues Deutschland [Berlin, DDR] (18 August 1982). In German. Click here to download a PDF file, size 39 kb. A report in the party newspaper of the Socialist Unity Party of East Germany.

18 August 1982
Ontem em Maputo, atentado à bomba assassina Ruth First: dois feridos fora de perigo, entre os quais Aquino de Bragança. Notícias [Maputo] (18 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 547 kb. The first report of Ruth First’s assassination to appear in the Mozambican press.

The office after the explosion

Above: The office of Ruth First in the Centro de Estudos Africanos in the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, after the explosion. Photograph: Tempo.

18 August 1982
Statement by members of the Centre of African Studies on the murder of Ruth First. Maputo, 18 August 1982. In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 130 kb. This undated document was issued by Ruth First’s colleagues and comrades in the CEA a few hours after her murder.

19 August 1982
ANC-Führerin Ruth First bei Bombenanschlag getötet [ANC leader Ruth First killed in bomb attack]. Vaterland [Lucerne] (19 August 1982). In German. Click here to download a PDF file, size 20 kb.

19 August 1982
ANC-Mitglied durch Bombenanschlag getötet [ANC member killed by bomb attack]. Tages Anzeiger [Zurich] (19 August 1982). In German. Click here to download a PDF file, size 32 kb.

19 August 1982
Atentado em Moçambique. O País [Lisbon] (19 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 20 kb.

19 August 1982
Bomb kills an opponent of apartheid: Ruth First is a victim of Mozambique blast. International Herald Tribune [?] [Paris] (19 August 1982). In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 82 kb. Scan of a poor photocopy; illegible in parts.

19 August 1982
Führendes ANC-Mitglied fiel Anschlag zum Opfer [Leading ANC member is victim of attack]. Neueste Nachrichten [Budapest] (19 August 1982). In German. Click here to download a PDF file, size 98 kb.

19 August 1982
Mozambique: Ruth First tuée par une bombe. Le Matin de Paris [Paris] (19 August 1982). In French. Click here to download a PDF file, size 36 kb.

19 August 1982
Parcel bomb kills S. African exile. Jerusalem Post [Jerusalem] (19 August 1982). In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 102 kb.

19 August 1982
Ruth First ermordet [Ruth First murdered]. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung [Frankfurt-am-Main] (19 August 1982). In German. Click here to download a PDF file, size 45 kb.

19 August 1982
Südafrikanische Oppositionspolitikerin bei Attentat getötet [South African opposition leader killed in attack]. Tageszeitung [West Berlin] (19 August 1982). In German. Click here to download a PDF file, size 47 kb.

20 August 1982
Bombenanschlag in Maputo: Führendes ANC-Mitglied ums Leben gekommen [Bombing in Maputo: leading ANC member killed]. Neue Zürcher Zeitung [Zurich] (20 August 1982). In German. Click here to download a PDF file, size 31 kb.

21 August 1982
Atentado bombista em Maputo: o que restava da fachada caiu por terra. Notícias [Maputo] (21 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 137 kb.

17 September 1982
Bompakket voor lid ANC lag al één week op haar te wachten [Parcel bomb for ANC member was already waiting for her for a week]. Recortes de Imprensa [Atentado bombista no Centro de Estudos Africanos: carta armadilhada assassina Ruth First] [Maputo] (17 September 1982). In Dutch. Click here to download a PDF file, size 95 kb. Reproduced by CEDIMO and AIM from an unidentified Dutch newspaper; probably originally published around 19 August 1982.

17 September 1982
Exil-Politikerin ermordet [Exiled politician murdered]. Recortes de Imprensa [Atentado bombista no Centro de Estudos Africanos: carta armadilhada assassina Ruth First] [Maputo] (17 September 1982). In German. Click here to download a PDF file, size 26 kb. Republished by AIM and CEDIMO from an unidentified German-language newspaper. DPA is the Deutsche Presse-Agentur [German Press Agency]. Probably originally published around 19 August 1982.

4. The Dollar Brand-Abdullah Ibrahim Concert

19 August 1982
Hoje no Gil Vicente: Freedom Concert em despedida. Notícias [Maputo] (19 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 203 kb.

Freedom Concert

Above: On 20 August, South African jazz musician Abdullah Ibrahim closed a series of Freedom Concerts that he was performing in Maputo with a gala event attended by President Samora Machel and other senior Frelimo leaders. At the concert he read out a poem by Bridget O’Laughlin in memory of Ruth First, as well as a poem of his own. In the picture above, taken on stage at the end of the concert, from left to right, two unidentified persons, Graça Machel, Abdullah Ibrahim, President Samora Machel, South African singer Sathima Bea Benjamin (b.1936), three unidentified people.

20 August 1982
Contra apartheid: nossa música é de afirmação, reitera ANC em homenagem a Ruth First. Notícias [Maputo] (20 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 354 kb.

21 August 1982
Música de um povo que nasce: Presidente Samora Machel assiste a concerto de Dollar Brand. Notícias [Maputo] (21 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 249 kb.

Freedom Concert poster

Above: The poster for the Freedom Concert series which was originally scheduled to run from 10 to 13 August 1982. After the murder of Ruth First an additional event was added in order to pay tribute to her memory. A 77 Mb. recording of the concert may be downloaded in MP3 format here.

5. The Funeral

19 August 1982
[Untitled news item]. Rand Daily Mail [Johannesburg] (19 August 1982). In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 20 kb. Notes the arrival in Maputo from London of Mrs. Tilly First, mother of Ruth First, and Robyn Slovo, one of her three daughters. Transcribed (not by MHN).

23 August 1982
Ruth First foi a enterrar. Notícias [Maputo] (23 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 141 kb.

24 August 1982
ANC honours for Ruth First burial. Citizen [Johannesburg] (24 August 1982). In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 55 kb.

24 August 1982
First buried near Matola raid casualties. Star [Johannesburg] (24 August 1982). In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 80 kb.

24 August 1982
In Sudafrica [sic], grandi funerali per una militante anti-apartheid. Corriere del Ticino [Lugano] (24 August 1982). In Italian. Click here to download a PDF file, size 35 kb.

24 August 1982
Joseph Hanlon. Heroine’s funeral for Ruth First. Guardian [London] (24 August 1982). In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 34 kb.

28 August 1982
3000 mourn Ruth First. Star Weekly [Johannesburg] (28 August 1982). In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 74 kb.

6. World Reaction to the Murder:
Outrage and Condemnation

19 August 1982
Assassinato de Ruth First: desaparecimento é chocante, reacções na Grã-Bretanha. Notícias [Maputo] (19 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 639 kb.

19 August 1982
Bomba em Maputo: Eanes condenou atentado que vitimou Ruth First. Primeiro de Janeiro [Porto] (19 August 1982). In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 77 kb.

19 August 1982
Eanes condena e repudia atentado. Notícias [Maputo] (19 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 100 kb.

19 August 1982
Métodos cobardes para silenciar opositores, acusam grupos anti-apartheid e de solidariedade da Holanda. Notícias [Maputo] (19 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 53 kb.

19 August 1982
O atentado em Maputo: Ramalho Eanes chocado com morte de Ruth First. O Dia [Lisboa] (19 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 52 kb.

19 August 1982
OUA condena atentado contra Ruth First. Notícias [Maputo] (19 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 65 kb.

19 August 1982
Outrage at exile’s murder grows. Guardian [London] (19 August 1982). In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 38 kb.

19 August 1982
Mia Couto. Opinião. Notícias [Maputo] (19 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 88 kb. An editorial column signed M. C. – presumably Mia Couto.

20 August 1982
Apelo a Thatcher para agir contra Pretória. Notícias [Maputo] (20 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 51 kb.

20 August 1982
Associação Luso-Moçambicana repudia atentado em Maputo. Diário de Notícias [Lisbon ] (20 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 27 kb.

20 August 1982
Eanes solidariza-se com Aquino de Bragança. Notícias [Maputo] (20 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 27 kb.

20 August 1982
Manifestação em Londres contra RAS. Notícias [Maputo] (20 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 115 kb.

20 August 1982
Nenhum crime conseguirá travar a nossa marcha: Presidente Aristides Pereira em mensagem ao Presidente Samora. Notícias [Maputo] (20 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 54 kb.

20 August 1982
Nunca haverá bombas para calar a justiça: opinião pública internacional condena atentado terrorista. Notícias [Maputo] (20 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 324 kb.

20 August 1982
Roménia repudia agressões da RAS – encarregado de negócios à informação: dia nacional assinala-se segunda-feira. Notícias [Maputo] (20 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 208 kb.

20 August 1982
[Untitled news item]. Diário de Lisboa [Lisbon] (20 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 28 kb. Prints the text of a short message of solidarity sent to the Centro de Estudos Africanos by the Associação Portugal-Moçambique in Lisbon.

21 August 1982
Acto terrorista na UEM: violação à soberania de Moçambique, salienta Conselho Mundial da Paz. Notícias [ Maputo] (21 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 158 kb.

Below: A widely-distributed poster produced at the University in the days following the assassination, in an atmosphere of universal outrage. The text reads «Ruth First. Woman, militant, researcher. Was assassinated at the university by the South African racists. Take up arms, and since study is a weapon, continue the struggle. Amandla!»

Ruth First

21 August 1982
António de Figueiredo. Vítima de atentado em Maputo: morte de Ruth First condenada em Londres. Diário de Notícias [Lisbon] (21 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 241 kb.

22 August 1982
Balsemão condena atentado no Maputo. Correio da Manhã [Lisbon] (22 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 43 kb.

22 August 1982
Bomba assassina Ruth First: mensagens de repúdio a mais um crime do apartheid. Tempo [Maputo] no.619 (22 August 1982), p.5-7. In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 581 kb.

22 August 1982
Em mensagem a Machel, Balsemão condena atentado no Maputo. Diário de Notícias [Lisbon] (22 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 43 kb.

22 August 1982
Para Balsemão, inqualificável atentado no Maputo. Correio do Minho [Braga] (22 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 61 kb.

22 August 1982
Ruth First vai amanhã a enterrar: continuam a chegar a Maputo mensagens de repúdio de todo o mundo. Domingo [Maputo] (22 August 1982 ). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 73 kb.

23 August 1982
Atentado bombista suscita condenações. Notícias [Maputo] (23 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 67 kb.

23 August 1982
Balsemão lamenta atentado em Maputo. Primeiro de Janeiro [Porto] (23 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 45 kb.

23 August 1982
[News item]. Diário de Lisboa [Lisbon] (23 August 1982 ). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 26 kb. On Balsemão’s message of condemnation to Machel.

27 August 1982
Associação Portugal-Moçambique repudia. O Jornal [Lisbon] (27 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 24 kb.

27 August 1982
Atentado bombista: Zimbabwe solidário com Moçambique. Notícias [Maputo] (27 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 81 kb.

31 August 1982
Atentados em Moçambique na origem de uma moção da Câmera de Lisboa. Diário Popular [Lisbon] (31 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 488 kb.

31 August 1982
Moção de pesar pelos acontecimentos em Moçambique. O Dia [Lisbon] (31 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 70 kb.

31 August 1982
Martin Wainwright. Anti-Apartheid seeks meeting with Thatcher. Guardian [?] [London] (31 August 1982). In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 498 kb.

7. Responsibility for Ruth First’s Murder

Although South African responsibility for the murder was never really in doubt, contemporary reports speculated that the target might have been Aquino de Bragança; this hypothesis was finally laid to rest by the TRC process. The South African press responded with muted indignation to the idea that the apartheid regime was to blame; and some years later Joe Slovo won a court case in England against a newspaper that had suggested that he had somehow been involved. There were also reports that the package had passed through the US Embassy in Maputo.

18 August 1982
Segundo fontes de Moçambique, África do Sul implicada no atentado de Maputo. A Tarde [Lisbon ] (18 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 46 kb.

18 August 1982
Alfred Nzo. ANC statement on the assassination of Ruth First. Lusaka [?], 18 August 1982. In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 70 kb.

19 August 1982
Atentado em Maputo: ANC acusa Pretória. A Tarde [Lisbon] (19 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 40 kb.

19 August 1982
Choque e revolta: memória de um acto para a história do terrorismo do apartheid. Notícias [Maputo] (19 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 152 kb.

19 August 1982
Maputo: quem matou a militante do ANC? Jornal de Notícias [Porto] (19 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 59 kb.

19 August 1982
PCP denuncia acções de Pretória contra Angola e Moçambique. Diário de Lisboa [Lisbon] (19 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 59 kb.

19 August 1982
Putting the blame on us. Rand Daily Mail [Johannesburg] (19 August 1982). In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 100 kb.

19 August 1982
Ruth First: SA gets the blame. Citizen [Johannesburg] (19 August 1982). In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 72 kb.

19 August 1982
South Africa denies Maputo bomb plot. The Times [?] [London] (19 August 1982). In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 30 kb.

19 August 1982
Joseph Hanlon. South Africa is blamed for First’s murder. Guardian [London] (19 August 1982 ). In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 108 kb.

19 August 1982
Michael Hornsby. Pretoria protests innocence. The Times [London] (19 August 1982). In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 60 kb.

19 August 1982-20 August 1982
The death of Ruth First. Transcripts of broadcasts by Addis Ababa radio on 19 August 1982 (an ANC statement), and SABC [Johannesburg] on 20 August 1982, published in the Summary of World Broadcasts [London]. In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 114.

20 August 1982
ANC blames S. Africa for killing Mrs. First. Arab News [Jeddah] (20 August 1982). In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 115 kb.

20 August 1982
ANC blames SA for exile’s death. Eastern Province Herald [Port Elizabeth] (20 August 1982). In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 76 kb.

20 August 1982
Novos dados sobre o atentado em Maputo: armadilha que matou Ruth First passou pela embaixada dos EUA, segundo revelaram fontes não oficiais moçambicanos. Jornal de Notícias [Porto] (20 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 132 kb.

20 August 1982
[Radio broadcast transcript]. SABC news item about reports that the letter-bomb passed through the US embassy in Maputo, broadcast on 20 August 1982 and published in the Summary of World Broadcasts [London]. In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 31 kb.

21 August 1982
Imprensa britânica acusa Pretória. Notícias [Maputo] (21 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 101 kb.

21 August 1982
Alves Gomes. Atentado no Maputo: Aquino de Bragança era o alvo escolhido. Expresso [Lisbon] (21 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 234 kb. A line of analysis arguing that Aquino de Bragança rather than Ruth First was the likely target of the attack, based on remarks by Aquino while he was still in hospital recovering from his injuries; however, evidence at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission later made it clear that this was mistaken. See also the letter from Joaquim Martins Cardosa, published in the Weekly Mail of 5-11 August 1994, making the same argument and citing this article by Alves Gomes. Extraordinarily, this issue was recently revived again in a short discussion by readers of Carlos Serra’s blog «Diário de um Sociólogo» here.

22 August 1982
A morte de Ruth First: os EUA investigarão atentado no Maputo. Diário de Notícias [Lisbon ] (22 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 54 kb.

22 August 1982
Washington e Maputo. Jornal de Notícias [Porto] (22 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 41 kb. This text was scanned from a very poor photocopy and is illegible in parts.

24 August 1982
South Africa accused. Citizen [Johannesburg] (24 August 1982). In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 23 kb.

27 August 1982
Joseph Hanlon. Why South Africa had to kill Ruth First. New Statesman [London] (27 August 1982). In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 221 kb.

29 August 1982
Alves Gomes. Explosão na [sic] CEA: apartheid contra intelectuais. Tempo [Maputo] (29 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 242 kb.

30 August 1982
Alves Gomes. Quand la CIA tue pour Botha. Afrique-Asie [Paris] (30 August 1982). In French. Click here to download a PDF file, size 606 kb.

2 March 1986
Joaquim Salvador. Assassinato de Ruth First: causa em tribunal inglês ganha por dirigente do ANC. Tempo [Maputo] no.803 (2 March 1986), p.30-31. In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 328 kb. Joe Slovo wins a case in an English court against a newspaper that falsely accused him of having participated in the murder of his wife, Ruth First.

11 August 1994
Joaquim Martins Cardosa. First’s death no mystery [letter to the editor]. Weekly Mail [Johannesburg] (11 August 1994). In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 38 kb. In this letter the writer relies on Alves Gomes’ reporting in Expresso (see above, ‘Atentado no Maputo: Aquino de Bragança era o alvo escolhido’, 21 August 1982) to argue that Aquino rather than Ruth was the primary target of the assassins. Evidence led at the TRC hearings discredited this theory.

8. The Aftermath of the Assassination

20 August 1982
Universidade retoma vida normal: Professor Mark Wyutts [sic] fala ao Notícias. Notícias [Maputo ] (20 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 231 kb. The «Mark Wuytts» refered to is the Belgian economist Marc Wuyts, a colleague from the Centro de Estudos Africanos.

24 August 1982
Contra a RPM, atentado na UEM não será o último: manifestação de massas, o crime será vingado. Notícias [Maputo] (24 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 95 kb. Report on a meeting and demonstration on the university campus to protest the murder.

24 August 1982
Moçambique continua a apoiar ANC. Comércio do Porto [Porto] (24 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 21 kb.

17 September 1982
Situação calma em Maputo depois da deflagração da encomenda-bomba. Recortes de Imprensa [Atentado bombista no Centro de Estudos Africanos: carta armadilhada assassina Ruth First] [Maputo] (17 September 1982). In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 42 kb. From an unidentified Portuguese newspaper, originally printed on 19 [?] August 1982, republished by AIM and CEDIMO in their clippings bulletin.

1 December 1982
Em homenagem a Ruth First, campanha para criação de Centro de Estudos da África Austral. Notícias [ Maputo] (1 December 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 56 kb.

22 April 1983
David Pallister. Ruth’s record. Guardian [London] (22 April 1983). In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 93 kb. On a monument to Ruth First, a resource centre on southern Africa ‘initially to be based at a British university’.

17 August 1983
Organizada pela UEM, começa hoje campanha anti-apartheid: Ruth First assassinada há um ano. Notícias [Maputo] (17 August 1983). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 70 kb.

18 August 1983
Campanha anti-apartheid: na estratégia revolucionária exige-se análise da realidade, destacado em palestra sobre o método de investigação de Ruth First. Notícias [Maputo] (18 August 1983). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 396 kb.

21 August 1983
Agostinho Chirrime. Assumir o combate pela unidade contra o racismo. Domingo [Maputo] (21 August 1983). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 184 kb.

22 August 1983
Carlos Cardoso. Notas breves sobre o método de investigação em Ruth First. Notícias [Maputo] (22 August 1983). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 243 kb.

18 August 1984
Ruth First recordada em Maputo. Notícias [Maputo] (18 August 1984). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 253 kb.

18 August 1985
No 3.º aniversário da morte, Dr.ª Ruth First recordada em Maputo. Notícias [Maputo] (18 August 1985). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 130 kb.

6 October 1985
Morte de Ruth First assinalada em Maputo. Tempo [Maputo] no.782 (6 October 1985). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 146 kb. The meeting was chaired by Rob Davies and Albie Sachs.

19 August 1987
Ruth First remembered. Herald [Harare] (19 August 1987). In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 19 kb.

21 January 1988
Aquino e Ruth First recordados em Maputo: seminário em memória dos investigadores tem lugar a partir de hoje. Notícias [Maputo] (21 January 1988). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 182 kb.

22 January 1988
Recordando obra de Aquino e Ruth First, seminário científico debate África austral. Notícias [Maputo] (22 January 1988 ). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 394 kb.

23 January 1988
No Centro de Estudos Africanos, lápide marca presença de Aquino e Ruth First: encerrou seminário científico em memória daqueles destacados investigadores. Notícias [Maputo] (23 January 1988). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 212 kb.

February 1988
Seminar honours Ruth First and Aquino de Bragança. AIM News Bulletin [Maputo] no.139 (February 1988), p.8-9. In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 163 kb.

9. Tributes, Statements, Obituaries

18 August 1982
ANC tribute to Ruth First. A broadcast by Radio Tanzania, Dar es Salaam on 18 August 1982, reported in the Summary of World Broadcasts [London]. In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 22 kb.

18 August 1982
Writer of rare perception. Rand Daily Mail [Johannesburg] (18 August 1982). In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 556 kb. Story retyped (not by MHN) from an original clipping.

19 August 1982
Em resposta ao terrorismo, urgente destruição do apartheid: ANC da África do Sul rende homenagem a Ruth First. Notícias [Maputo] (19 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 535 kb.

19 August 1982
No cracking point. Morning Star [London] (19 August 1982). In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 117 kb. Transcription (not by MHN) of a tribute published in the British Communist Party newspaper.

19 August 1982
Jo Shallis. Ruth First respected as a writer. Pretoria News [Pretoria] (19 August 1982). In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 65 kb.

21 August 1982
Figura a ser recordada com orgulho e honra: declaração da ONJ. Notícias [Maputo] (21 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 86 kb.

21 August 1982
Livro de condolências aberto hoje. Notícias [Maputo] (21 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 28 kb.

21 August 1982
[News item with photograph]. Star Weekly [Johannesburg] (21 August 1982), p.1. In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 425 kb.

21 August 1982
Ruth First remembered: a full productive life. Guardian [London] (21 August 1982). In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 65 kb. This article recognises Ruth First’s work with Joe Gqabi (1929-1981) on forced labour in the Bethal potato fields in the late 1950s; like First, Gqabi was also brutally assassinated by the apartheid regime, in Harare in 1981. See below for the cover of their pamphlet. Retyped (not by MHN).

Cover of Farm Labour

Above: The cover of Ruth First’s campaigning pamphlet The farm labour scandal (Johannesburg: New Age, 1959), 23 pages, co-researched with Joe Gqabi, which had a significant political impact at the time, revealing the practice of compelling Africans arrested for pass law offences to do forced labour in potato fields.

21 August 1982
Hilda Berstein. Exile to the life. Guardian [London ] (21 August 1982). In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 149 kb. Date uncertain.

21 August 1982
Peter Hain. Honesty and clear analysis [letter to the editor]. Guardian [London] (21 August 1982). In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 65 kb.

22 August 1982
Homenagem a Ruth First. Domingo [Lisbon] (22 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 212 kb. Presidente Samora Machel signs the Livro de Condolências.

22 August 1982
Teresa Tinga. Ruth First, minha vizinha. Domingo [Maputo] (22 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 482 kb.

26 August 1982
Outcry over ban on meeting. Sowetan [Johannesburg] (26 August 1982). In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 83 kb.

26 August 1982
UCT staff’s tribute to First. Argus [ Cape Town] (26 August 1982). In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 28 kb.

26 August 1982
James Ambrose Brown. Ruth First, caged tigress. Argus [Cape Town] (26 August 1982). In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 139 kb.

27 August 1982
Anna Maria Gentili. L’ultima risposta di Ruth First. Unità [Rome] (27 August 1982). In Italian. Click here to download a PDF file, size 603 kb. Anna Maria Gentili was a colleague of Ruth First in Dar es Salaam and at the CEA, and a senior political scientist at the University of Bologna in Italy.

30 August 1982
Aquino de Bragança témoigne sur Ruth First. Afrique-Asie [Paris] (30 August 1982). In French. Click here to download a PDF file, size 228 kb.

30 August 1982
Ruth First; Aquino de Bragança. Afrique-Asie [Paris] (30 August 1982). In French. Click here to download a PDF file, size 126 kb.

September 1982
Ruth First; author, academic and revolutionary. Moto [Harare] (September 1982). In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 239 kb. Includes box, A Gallant Fighter Falls, by Albie Sachs.

8 September 1982
Ils ont tué Ruth First. Jeune Afrique [Paris] (8 September 1982). In French. Click here to download a PDF file, size 98 kb.

10. Poetic Tributes

19 September 1982
Paulo Soares. À memória de Ruth First. Tempo [Maputo] no.623 (19 September 1982), p.56-57. In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 293 kb. A poem by Paulo Soares.

3 October 1982
Bridget O’Laughlin. Não ha morte gratuita. Domingo [Maputo] (3 October 1982), p.19. In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 42 kb. A poem by Bridget O’Laughlin, translated from English by Alexandrino José.

11. Aquino de Bragança, Pallo Jordan,
Bridget O’Laughlin; the Wounded

18 August 1982
Aquino de Bragança ferido: atentado em Maputo mata dirigente do ANC. Primeiro de Janeiro [Porto ] (18 August 1982). In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 49 kb.

19 August 1982
Atentado bombista em Maputo: feridos recuperam. Notícias [Maputo] (19 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 119 kb.

19 August 1982
Um acto de terrorismo: Aquino de Bragança, um dos feridos no criminoso atentado. Notícias [Maputo] (19 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 91 kb.

20 August 1982
Apesar de perturbações na vista, feridos de atentado continuam a melhorar: Vice-Ministro de Saúde anuncia diagnóstico dos doentes. Notícias [Maputo] (20 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 125 kb.

21 August 1982
Face ao terrorismo de Pretória, devemos ficar mais determinados, afirma Pallo Jordan, um dos sobreviventes do atentado bombista em Maputo. Notícias [Maputo] (21 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 94 kb.

21 August 1982
Queria estar a trabalhar, desabafo de Brigett O’Lauglin [sic] que continua a registar melhoras. Notícias [Maputo] (21 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 64 kb. The name of Bridget O'Laughlin, a colleague from the Centro de Estudos Africanos who was wounded in the explosion, is misspelled in this report.

27 August 1982
Aquino de Bragança já saiu do hospital. Diário Popular [Lisbon] (27 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 39 kb.

27 August 1982
[News item]. Diário de Lisboa [Lisbon] (27 August 1982 ). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 31 kb. Aquino de Bragança leaves hospital and promises that the struggle against apartheid will continue.

28 August 1982
Mais do que nunca contra apartheid: Aquino de Bragança ao ter alta do hospital. Notícias [Maputo] (28 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 61 kb.

12. The Context: South Africa’s Assaults
on Its Neighbours

19 August 1982
Santos Ribeiro. Das sete partidas: curiosas coincidências. Jornal de Notícias [Porto] (19 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 108 kb.

19 August 1982
Jonathan Steele. South Africa’s creeping brand of intervention. Guardian [London] (19 August 1982). In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 106 kb.

20 August 1982
Bombs and hit-men take toll of African National Congress, Mozambique claims SA agents hit ANC members: London vigil for Slovo’s wife. Sowetan [Johannesburg] (20 August 1982). In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 44 kb.

20 August 1982
Escalada do terrorismo. Notícias [Maputo] (20 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 195 kb.

21 August 1982
Editorial: das conspirações aos atentados. Expresso [Lisbon] (21 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 228 kb.

22 August 1982
Pat Bulger. Ruth First’s death rekindles claim of anti-ANC hit list. Sunday Tribune [Durban] (22 August 1982). In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 237 kb.

23 August 1982
Cooperante português morto em Moçambique. Diário Popular [Lisbon] (23 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 78 kb. The second part of the report is headlined Balsemão condena atentado de Maputo.

23 August 1982
Em operação atribuída a comando sul-africano, cooperante português assassinado em Moçambique. A Capital [Lisbon] (23 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 82 kb.

24 August 1982
Comanda ataca em Moçambique: cooperante português morto por engano? Primeiro de Janeiro [Porto] (24 August 1982). In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 94 kb.

27 August 1982
Dawn raid blamed on SA. Citizen [Johannesburg] (27 August 1982). In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size A raid by armed men on Namaacha in which two Mozambicans and a Portuguese technician died took place five days after the murder of Ruth First.

27 August 1982
South Africa’s true interests. The Times [London] (27 August 1982). In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 199 kb. This source of this clipping is not certain: it appears to be a Times editorial from about 27 August 1982.

30 August 1982
Le nouvel assaut de Pretoria. Afrique-Asie [Paris] (30 August 1982). In French. Click here to download a PDF file, size 569 kb.

September 1982
Terry Bell. Apartheid’s foes face terror campaign. Arab News [Jeddah] (September 1982). In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 547 kb.

6 September 1982
Holger Jensen and Peter Younghusband. Southern Africa: the zone of instability. Newsweek [New York] (6 September 1982). In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 128 kb.

13. Ruth First’s Legacy

8 September 2000
António Ramos. África do Sul: memória de Ruth First, um legado também de Moçambique. Savana [Maputo] (8 September 2000), p.23. In Portuguese. Click here to download a PDF file, size 326 kb.

15 August 2010
Gail Smith. First broke the mould. City Press [Johannesburg] (15 August 2010). In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 165 kb.

20 August 2010-26 August 2010
Adekeye Adebajo. The first pan-African martyr. Mail and Guardian [Johannesburg] (20 August 2010-26 August 2010), p.32. In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 297 kb.

17 August 2011
Adekeye Adebajo. Recalling First’s Gaddafi and Libya insights. Business Day [Johannesburg] (17 August 2011). In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 140 kb.

14. Some Book Reviews

12 August 1983
Norman Levy. First of her kind. Guardian [London] (12 August 1983). In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 119 kb. A review of the book Black Gold (1983).

February 1984
Lionel Cliffe. [Review of Black Gold]. Sociology [Durham] vol.18 no.1 (February 1984), p.114-116. In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 245 kb.

28 April 1989
Moira Levy. A family saga of teddy-bear terrorists. Weekly Mail [Supplement] [Johannesburg] (28 April 1989), p.11. In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 283 kb. Review of Ties of Blood by Gillian Slovo.

Winter 1989
Margaret Randall. Ruth First’s potent words from prison. Guardian [Book Review Supplement] [New York] (Winter 1989), p.7. In English. Click here to download a PDF file, size 238 kb. A review of the book 117 Days.

Decoration

Search Mozambique History Net

This search script provided by JavaScript Kit

Valid XHTML 1.0 Strict Valid CSS!

Print Friendly and PDF

 

Comments powered by Disqus