117 Days

117 Days

An Account of Confinement and Interrogation Under the South African 90-Day Detention Law

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Additional Formats
  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780143105749
  • 160 Pages
  • Penguin Classics
  • Adult


An unforgettable account of defiance against political terror by one of South Africa’s pioneering anti-apartheid activists

An invaluable testimonial of the excesses of the apartheid system, 117 Days presents the harrowing chronicle of journalist Ruth First’s isolation and abuse at the hands of South African interrogators after her arrest in 1963. Upon her arrest, she was detained in solitary confinement under South Africa’s notorious ninety-day detention law. This is the story of the war of nerves that ensued between First and her Special Branch captors-a work that remains a classic portrait of oppression and the dignity of the human spirit.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.


“[Ruth First’s] life, and her death, remains a beacon to all who love liberty.”
- Nelson Mandela, at the commemoration of the tenth anniversary of Ruth First’s murder
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