Series NMAP 2009/90 - Rica Hodgson Collection

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Identity area

Reference code

ZA COM NMAP 2009/90


Rica Hodgson Collection


  • ca. 2010 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

2 boxes
paper based and CDs

Context area

Name of creator

(1 July 1920 - 11 January 2018)

Biographical history

In 1943‚ Rica Hodson became a fundraiser for the Springbok Legion‚ an organisation comprising ex-servicemen who opposed the rising threat of fascism in South Africa. Hodgson joined the SACP in 1946 and‚ in 1953‚ was a founding member of the Congress of Democrats (COD)‚ which organised white progressives into the mainstream Congress Alliance headed by the ANC. She was the national secretary of the COD until August 1954‚ when she was served with banning orders‚ under the Suppression of Communism Act.
Hodgson served on the national action council of the 1955 Congress of the People. In 1957‚ she became secretary of the Treason Trial Defence Fund following the arrest of 156 people and‚ in 1961‚ for the Johannesburg branch of the Defence and Aid Fund‚ South Africa. In 1959‚ she was secretary for the production King Kong that sought to promote black jazz musicians and non-racial performances.

Hodgson was detained during the 1960 state of emergency. In the build up to the launch of the joint SACP-ANC military wing uMkhonto weSizwe (MK)‚ The Hodgson’s flat in Hillbrow‚ Johannesburg‚ was used to produce explosives for the 1961 Sabotage Campaign. In 1962‚ in the same flat‚ she and Jack Hodgson, whom she married in 1945, were placed under house arrest.

They left the country illegally in mid-1963 to set up a transit centre outside Lobatse in then Bechuanaland for MK cadres en-route to training abroad. From 1964 to 1981‚ Hodgson worked for the British Defence and Aid Fund and headed the welfare section of the International Defence and Aid Fund‚ covertly channelling funds for the defence of apartheid prisoners and the support of their families. Hodgson also assisted in SACP‚ ANC and MK work‚ and the Hodgson’s London flat was meeting place for Jack and others producing underground material for the struggle at home.

Hodgson joined her son‚ Spencer and his family in the development of the Solomon Mahlangu Freedom College‚ established in Tanzania after the 1976 Soweto uprising.

Hodgson returned to South Africa in 1991 after the unbanning of the SACP and the ANC.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Verne Harris

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Manuscripts and transcripts of interviews of Rica Hodgson in the making of her autobiography, Foot Soldier for Freedom. Also includes copies of newsclippings and messages of condolence received by the Hodgson family on the death of Jack Hodgson.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

2 boxes received. Box 1, files 1 to 3 contains the manuscript. Box 2, files 1 to 4 contains the interviews and other documents.

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Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

NMAP 2010/13 Accrual to Rica Hodgson Collection

Related descriptions

Publication note

Rica Hodgson, Foot Soldier for Freedom: A life in South Africa’s liberation movement (Picador Africa, 2010).

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