Item Merle_Favis_interview_ clip - Jews and the struggle for human rights, "Merle Favis interview"

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Jews and the struggle for human rights, "Merle Favis interview"

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Merle_Favis_interview_ clip

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  • 27-03-2020 (Creation)
    Creator
    Jonathan Ancer

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Jonathan Ancer is a journalist, who has held various positions on a
variety of publications: reporter on The Star, editor of Grocott’s
Mail and crossword columnist for the Cape Times. He has won awards for
hard news journalism, feature writing and creative writing. He is the
author of The Victor Within (2000), Spy: Uncovering Craig Williamson
(2017) and Betrayal: The Secret Lives of Apartheid Spies (2019).

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Merle Favis was born in 1957 and grew up in the Johannesburg suburb of Dewetshof. She went to King David Linksfield High School and to Wits University, where she became involved in student politics. She joined the Wages Commission, a subcommittee of the National Union of South African Students (NUSAS). She graduated with an honours in industrial sociology and was appointed editor of the Durban-based South African Labour Bulletin. She was detained in connection with her anti-apartheid activities. She moved into the development field in the 1980s, working at the University of Natal Durban (UND) as the allocations officer for a small fund, then worked for Interfund, an international donor consortium, and continues to be a development activist. She is the co-director of Isibuko Sempilo Consulting, which promotes asset-based community development and financial sustainability planning with civil society organisations.

In this interview Merle Favis talks about going to King David High School during the 1970s where she was encouraged to question what was happening in South Africa and the world and the role of Jewish ethics as a force to push Jews into human rights struggles. She discusses her role as editor of the South African Labour Bulletin and her involvement in the labour movement, as well as the tension within the movement over support for the ANC. Favis also talks about Barbara Hogan’s Close Comrades’ list which was intercepted by the security police and the detentions that followed, including her own. Favis recounts her arrest and subsequent detention; the solidarity with the other detainees and the secret codes used to send messages to each other, as well as the emotional turmoil of being in detention. She talks about the negative response from the Jewish leadership and the broader Jewish community to her activism. She discusses her relationship with Judaism and shares her views on the difficulties facing South Africa in the current political environment [Written by: Jonathan Ancer].

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Donated by The South African Jewish Museum

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Unless otherwise stated the copyright of all material on the Jewish Digital Archive Project resides with the South African Jewish Museum.

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