In prison you see only the moves of the enemy. Prison is the hardest place to fight a battle.'
117 Days is Ruth First's personal account of her detention under the iniquitous '90-day' law of 1963. There was no warrant, no charge and no trial - only suspicion.
This sparsely written and unique record tells of her experiences of solitary confinement, constant interrogation and instantaneous re-arrest on release - lightened by humorous portraits of governors, matrons, wardresses and interrogators, seen as the tools of the police state.
Ruth First was a journalist and academic and, along with her husband Joe Slovo, strongly active in the anti-apartheid movement. She escaped South Africa in 1964. In 1982 she was working at a university in Mozambique. On the 17th August she opened a letter bomb addressed to her by the South African security police.