: Simons (R.) text & Suttner (R.) ed.

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378pp., b/w & colour illus., paperback, Johannesburg, 2004


Autobiography of communist, trade unionist and anti-apartheid activist Ray Alexander Simons.

Ray Alexander Simons (1913-2004) was born in Latvia and moved to Cape Town in 1929. In 1954, together with Helen Joseph, Lilian Ngoyi and Florence Mkhize, Simons founded the Federation of South African Women (FSAW) and was elected General Secretary. In September 1954 she was banned by the apartheid government, which forced her to resign. In the same year she was elected as one of three Natives' Representatives in Parliament, although the banning order forbade her from taking her seat.

In 1965, she and her husband Jack Simons went into exile in Zambia. She co-authored the book, Class and Colour in South Africa, 1850–1950 with Jack Simons and worked for the International Labour Organisation and the ANC. They returned to South Africa in 1990.


"Charting as it does the life of a legendary personality, this is a cumulatively powerful piece of work." Thomas Karis, chief author and editor of From Protest to Challenge: a documentary history of African politics in South Africa 1882-1964