Kasrils papers find a home at Wits University

Ronnie Kasrils
Ronnie Kasrils

Rare and historical material belonging prominent political figure Ronnie Kasrils, gathered during the liberation struggle and the transition to a democratic South Africa, will be handed over into the custody of Wits University tomorrow.

Kasrils was a member of the African National Congress (ANC), Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) and secretary of the Congress of Democrats in the early 1960s. He was involved in MK military operations, and served as Deputy Minister of Defence from 1994 to 1999. Kasrils was also appointed Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry from 1999 to 2004; and Minister of Intelligence Services from 2004 to 2008.

The depositing of Kasrils’ annals to Wits University’s Historical Papers Research Archive will be marked with a seminar reflecting on the struggle veteran’s decision to deposit the documents and engage him on his personal narrative, and the current political era. The media is invited to the function taking place on Thursday, 20 June 2013 at 18:00 at the Wits Club, West Campus, Wits University. RSVP: buhle.zuma@wits.ac.za.

On display will be some of the exceptionally rare and unique items such as:

· Kasrils’ introduction to Marxism and his MK note books from the Soviet Union (Odessa)

· Lecture notes given in Angolan (including Quibaxe) camps in 1977 and 1978, including recordings of some of the lectures and class discussions

· Recordings of camp concerts and celebrations with live commentary and interviews

· The 1986 MPLA/FAPLA-MK Intelligence Agreement signed by the presidents of the two organisations, Oliver Tambo and José Dos Santos; Kasrils (as MK Military Intelligence Chief) and his Angolan counterpart

· Letters to his wife Eleanor from the Angolan camp

· Ronnie’s Apartheid surveillance file No. 1032 relating to his political activities from 1961-1990

· Financial documents for operations, underground cadres and Self Defence Units during Operation Vula.

A revised edition of Kasrils’ book Armed and Dangerous will also be on sale.

The Historical Papers Research Archive at Wits University was established in 1966. It is one of the largest and most comprehensive independent archives in Southern Africa housing over 3300 collections of historical, political and cultural importance, encompassing the mid-17th Century to the present.

Buhle Zuma

Communications Officer

University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

Tel: 011 717 1018

Fax: 086 5533 092

E-mail: buhle.zuma@wits.ac.za