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PALMER, Josie (b 1903)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0101 ICS 57
Held at: Institute of Commonwealth Studies
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Full title: PALMER, Josie (b 1903)
Date(s): 1977 (covers 1928-1955)
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 1 file
Name of creator(s): Palmer | Josie | b 1903 | political activist in South Africa
Wells | Julie | fl 1977 | writer
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

Josie Palmer (sometimes the African form of the name is used (Mpama) was born in Potchefstroom, South Africa, in 1903. She refers to herself as 'coloured' but married an African, Edwin Mofutsanyane (a leading member of the Communist Party of South Africa and the African National Congress (ANC), and lived in an African area. She became the first black woman to play a significant part in the Communist Party of South Africa (CPSA) and in the womens' movement in South Africa.
She came to the fore in Potchefstroom in the 1928 campaign against residential permits and joined the Communist Party then. During the late 1920s and 1930s she wrote for 'Umsebenzi', the Journal of the CPSA. In 1943-1945 she was a member of the CPSA's Anti-Pass Campsign and in March 1944 convened the women's Anti-Pass Conference in Johannesburg. At the 1947 International Women's Day Meeting in Johannesburg a resolution was passed to establish a 'non colour bar women's organisation' and the Transvaal All-Women's Union was formed, with Palmer as the secretary. It did not last very long, and although it changed its title in 1949 to become the Union of South African Women, it never became a national movement. However the idea was planted and Palmer later became a founding member of the Federation of South African Women and President of the Transvaal Branch. She was banned in 1955 before the Pretoria women's demonstration, and never became involved in the Anti-Pass Campaigns of those years.


Scope and content/abstract:

Notes of interviews by Julie Wells with Josie Palmer, active in the Communist Party of South Africa, and the African National Congress, and founder member of Transvaal All-Women's Union and the Federation of South African Women), 1928-1955, on 19 and 26 October 1977.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Single item

Conditions governing access:

Open although advance notice should be given. Access to individual items may be restricted under the Data Protection Act or the Freedom of Information Act.

Conditions governing reproduction:

A photocopying service is available, at the discretion of the Library staff. Copies are supplied solely for research or private study. Requests to publish, or to quote from, original material should be submitted to the Information Resources Manager.

Finding aids:

See link to repository catalogue.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Photocopies given to ICS by Baruch Hirson.

Allied Materials

Related material:

The ICS holds a large number of collections relating to South African politics, including African National Congress (ICS 1), Mary Benson (ICS 6), Ruth First (ICS 117), Ruth Hayman (ICS 30), Baruch Hirson (ICS 32), Mandela Trials papers (ICS 52), Z K Matthews (ICS 55), Edward Roux (ICS 67), South African Institute of Race Relations (ICS 95), University of Cape Town (ICS 81-82), University of Transkei (ICS 19).

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled by Alan Kucia as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project.

Rules or conventions:
General International Standard Archival Description ISAD(G), 2nd edition 2000. National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Oct 2001

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