Thursday, 26 April 2012

Newly open archives collection - Papers of Ben Turok

Newly opened and made available for researchers are ICS143 The papers of Benjamin Turok.

Benjamin Turok, was born in Latvia, 1927; and came with his family to South Africa, 1934. He was educated at the University of Cape Town; taught in London, 1950-1953; and returned to South Africa in 1953, becoming a full-time political activist: joining the South African Congress of Democrats and in 1955 became its secretary for the Cape western region, and acting as a full-time organiser for the Congress of the People. Turok was one of authors of the Freedom Charter; served with a banning order in 1955; arrested in the Treason Trial in 1956 and stood trial until charges against him were withdrawn in 1958; elected unopposed to represent Africans of the Western Cape on the Cape Provincial Council, 1957. During the 1960 emergency Turok evaded arrest, and went underground to help reestablish the ANC organisation; in 1962 he was convicted under the Explosives Act, and sentenced to three years in prison; after his release he escaped via Botswana; and resident in the UK from 1972 and employed by the Open University. He returned to South Africa in 1990; and was the first Head of the Commission on the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) in the Gauteng Provincial Cabinet, 1994; and a member of the South African Parliament, representing the African National Congress, from 1995-present (2012).

The papers of Benjamin Turok, were held by the Institute of Commonwealth Studies and the originals returned to Turok after his return to South Africa, with a microfilm copy made and kept to provide access to researchers.  The papers relate to his political involvement in South Africa (1961-1981) and include biographical tapes and transcripts (1983-1984); African National Congress (ANC) speeches, publications, press releases, and other material, 1971-1981; papers of the Institute for Industrial Education, Durban, 1974-1978; papers of the Communist Party of South Africa, 1978 and undated; papers of the South African Congress of Trade Unions, 1971-1973; correspondence, 1971-1980, with Oliver Tambo and others, mainly on ANC activities; transcripts and audio tapes of biographical material.

No comments: