Fonds BC1340 - Di Bishop Papers

Reference code



Di Bishop Papers


  • 1975-1994 (Creation)

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Extent and medium

29 boxes

Name of creator


Biographical history

Di Bishop was born in Cape Town. She made her first political statement at age eleven in 1961 when South Africa became a republic. During the celebrations, she refused to attend a military display, influencing her other siblings to do the same and this was punishable in her father’s eyes. Di obtained an Honours Degree in Social Work and worked as a social worker for many years. After getting married in 1975, her husband, Brian introduced her to the Black Sash movement. In the Black Sash she was involved in monitoring the Langa Pass Law court, believing that their presence would expose the injustice that accompanied Pass Laws. In 1981 she was elected a member of the Provincial Council for the Progressive Federal Party. She was asked by the Cape administrator to leave her position in the Black Sash but she chose not to. Throughout the 1980s, Di became involved in tracking down missing persons, who had disappeared from squatter camps. In 1981, after she and a friend were found in a Port Elizabeth township without permits, Di was arrested for the first time. In 1985, during the State of Emergency, she was picked up once again in an “off-limits” area but was release when they discovered that the person in her company was in fact an American judge. In September1985, her house was tear-gassed and in November of the same year her car was burned right outside her house. Over the years Di received many threatening phone calls and some death threats. She continued with her work in the struggle even after an automobile accident left her injured and killed her husband (SAHO).

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Donated by Di Oliver (formerly Bishop)

Scope and content

The collection reflects Di Bishop’s involvement in social work and in working for justice and human rights in South Africa. Papers include: Her involvement in Social Work and the establishment of the Society for Social Workers (Western Cape). Political involvement in the Progressive Federal Party. Death of Brian Bishop and Molly Blackburn. Involvement in the Black Sash. Work in Cradock, Oudtshoorn and other areas in the 1980s.


System of arrangement

Conditions governing access

Contact University of Cape Town Libraries: Special Collections for information about accessing this collection.

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Language of material

  • English

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Finding aids

Only a high level record of the collect is currently maintained in AtoM. For a list of contents, see

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Physical location

  • Shelf: 51b