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This exhibition explores the links between the ethnic origins, institutions and values that informed the early lives and socialisation of Jewish radicals. It investigates why they were drawn to the SACP, and ultimately tries to determine the extent to which ethnic experiences, sentiments, institutions, and solidarities underlay their political support for the SACP.


The exhibition is an exploration of ethnicity in a space where it was explicitly denied — it is an exploration of ethnicity in radical politics. 



Detail from a cover of The African Communist, the magazine of the South African Communist Party, 1985. (DISA Archive)

Detail from a poster produced by the CPSA, year unknown. (DISA Archive)

Detail from a poster produced by the ANC titled, “SIYAYA NOBA KUBI: FORWARD TO A PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC”, 1981. (SAHA Archive for Justice)

Pathways into Radicalism

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Detail from a poster produced by the SACP, 1986. (DISA Archive)

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Detail from a poster produced by the Black Students Interim Committee (BSIC) titled “FOR A TOMORROW FREE FROM OPPRESSION AND EXPLOITATION”, 1989. (SAHA Archive for Justice)

About this exhibition

Concept, research, and text: Elizabeth Visser, University of Cape Town

Web-design and graphics: Libby Young

Consultant: Adam Mendelsohn, University of Cape Town


With special thanks to Lebohang Sekholomi at the UWC Mayibuye Archives, and to Veronica Belling at the University of Cape Town’s Kaplan Centre for Jewish Studies and Research, for their insights and assistance.


To find out more, or to explore the sources that informed and inspired this research, visit the exhibition bibliography →

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