ZA UCT BC1502
NEVILLE AND LESLIE RUBIN PAPERS
- 1926-2007 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
165 archival boxes
Name of creator
Leslie Rubin (5/8/1909-31/3/2002) the son of a rabbi, was born in District Six, Cape Town. He was educated at Durban High School and the universities of the Witwatersrand and of South Africa. A lawyer by training, he was a founder of the South African Liberal Party and an elected member of the senate. During the Second World War, he was commissioned in the intelligence corps in North Africa and later seconded to the RAF in Italy. After the war, he settled in Cape Town and joined the War Veterans' Torch Commando, an organisation established to oppose the Nationalist government's plan to remove coloured voters from the common roll. In 1953, Rubin, along with others such as Alan Paton, Leo Marquard and Margaret Ballinger, created the Liberal Party of South Africa, bringing together committed whites, Africans, Indians and coloured people in opposition to the apartheid system. In 1954 he was elected to the senate as a so-called "natives' representative", a position he used to fight every piece of apartheid legislation. Whenever he got up to speak, Dr Hendrik Verwoerd, the architect of the apartheid system, left the chamber. Rubin resigned from the senate in 1960, before the native representatives' seats were abolished. That same year, Rubin went into exile, initially in Ghana, where he was director of the centre for African law. Later, he taught at various universities, including Queen's College, Belfast, and Howard University, in Washington. He became chairman of the United States committee of the Defence and Aid Fund. He also wrote several text books on South African law. In 1994, he returned to Cape Town.
Name of creator
Like his father, Neville Nordau Rubin (3/12/1935- ) was a lawyer and opponent of apartheid. His activism began as a student, when he was a member and later president of NUSAS. He was a founder member of the underground African Resistance Movement (ARM). He left South Africa in 1963 to pursue his academic career at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. He was arrested in Mozambique in 1964, while on a research trip. He was released shortly thereafter, and allowed to return to England. He became a regular broadcaster on BBC programmes dealing with Africa, and wrote and edited extensively on matters of African law and custom. He was a founding member of Friends of Namibia, and served in an advisory capacity to the applicants in World Court cases seeking to end South Africa's occupation of Namibia. He was a leading figure in the International Defence and Aid Fund, and, as legal adviser, was responsible for devising many of the methods by which funds were secretly transferred to South Africa to support and defend victims of apartheid. In 1976 he joined the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and in the years until his retirement from it in 1995 greatly expanded its involvement in southern Africa. After leaving the ILO, Neville Rubin completed editing the 3 500-page Code of International Labour Law. In 1996, he was appointed an honorary professor of law at UCT. He also served as a CCMA commissioner for a brief period between 1997 and 1999.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
The material in this collection was donated by Neville Rubin. Genre-specific published materials have been transferred to the UCT Law Library and Government Publications Department.