Academics and Agitators: White Women in the Anti-Apartheid Movement

ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Larkin L Raynor (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
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Abstract: The success of South Africa's anti-apartheid movement depended on the efforts of some remarkable people who were committed to their cause. Ruth First and Eleanor Kasrils were two women who were so committed to the advancement of Africans in South Africa that they devoted their lives to it. They defied the midtwentieth century gender expectations€”they spent years away from their husbands and children , working instead to end the injustices that some experienced every day of their lives. The two had similar upbringings but they chose to combat the apartheid system in different ways. Ruth First became an academic and wrote some of Africa's most important literature on history and economics. By contrast , Eleanor Kasrils participated in a more hands-on style of activism through her work with Umkhonto we Sizwe , the armed , underground wing of the African National Congress. How can two women who shared similar upbringings , beliefs , colleagues , and experiences have paths that diverged so drastically? What helps an activist decide if the pen really is mightier than the sword? This study examines the lives of both Ruth First and Eleanor Kasrils and emphasize the women's respective educations , relationships , and writings in order to assess and find the motivations behind the activism styles of these two heroines of the anti-apartheid movement.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2017
Apartheid, South Africa

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