Jaqueline Arenstein was born in 1921. She was a member of the SACP from the age of 21, and was a defendant in the 1956 Treason Trial. She married the activist and struggle attorney Rowley Arenstein in 1944, and is related (through her mother) to Ronnie Kasrils. Kasrils was himself the grandchild of Jewish immigrants from Latvia and Lithuania, who fled from pogroms at the end of the 19th century. Growing up in a Jewish family in Yeoville, Johannesburg in the 1900s, he was radicalized by Apartheid, and joined the SACP in 1961.
“…I had a vague connection with the SACP through my mother’s cousin, Jackie Arenstein, and I went to visit her and her husband, Rowley. They were lifelong communists, and I began to assist them in their work.”
At the height of the anti-Apartheid struggle in 1983, he was a key figure in Umkhonto weSizwe, as a member of its High Command.
From left: Albie Sachs, Denis Goldberg and Ruth First. Click on the the faces to read more about them.