“The assassination of Ruth First by letter bomb in Mozambique in 1982, through the agency of the South African apartheid state, sent shock waves of horror through the Left in both Africa and Europe. Ruth had been a political worker since her early years, a communist active in the struggles to overthrow apartheid and capitalism in South Africa, imprisoned by the regime and forced into exile. She was particularly important to the Review of African Political Economy (ROAPE) as she had been one the founder members of the journal back in 1973, during her exile from her homeland. Fearless, passionate and always politically engaged, she took up a post on an interim basis in 1977 at the Eduardo Mondlane University in Maputo during its heady post-independence days under FRELIMO (the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique). There she set about strengthening the Centre for African Studies/Centro de Estudos Africanos (CEA), creating a space for critical and radical research which was always politically grounded and not always fully in tune with FRELIMO policies. In 1982, ROAPE produced a sorrowful obituary for the premature death of this brave and innovative activist for socialism, followed by a commemorative issue (Vol. 9, Issue 25). In 2012, the thirtieth anniversary of her tragic death was commemorated through the establishment of a project to digitise Ruth’s papers at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies (www.ruthfirstpapers.org.uk). A symposium was held in London, bringing together many of those who worked closely with her in the final days. This Special Issue is mainly based on papers from that symposium. It includes personal memories, photographs and archival material, appreciation of her work and evaluation of its character and outcomes from today’s perspectives.” From the Editorial of the Review of African Political Economy Special Issue, Leo Zeilig with Gavin Williams, Janet Bujra and Gary Littlejohn

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