Fonds AL3073 - Merle Favis Collection

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Reference code



Merle Favis Collection


  • 1986-1990 (Accumulation)
  • 1983-1990 (Accumulation)

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Extent and medium

0.4 linear metres (4 archival boxes)

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Merle Favis was born in Johannesburg in April, 1957. She was the second child of a white liberal family. She attended a government school in Johannesburg and then proceeded to King David High School in Linksfield. While at school she became interested in politics.

After completing her high school education, Merle went to the University of Witwatersrand to study for a B.A. degree majoring in Political Studies and Industrial Sociology. After she graduated in 1979, she became an active member of NUSAS (National Union of South African Students) and the Wages Commission Assisting Unions, negotiating better salaries for their members.

Later in the 1980’s, Merle went to Durban to study for a post-graduate diploma in Adult Education at the University of Natal. She enrolled for another post-graduate degree in Public Policy and Development Administration. The June 1976 Uprisings, inspired Merle to fight Apartheid and to organise different communities to fight together for the liberation of South Africa. In 1979 she was appointed an editor for the South African Labour Bulletin. She later resigned because of internal conflicts evolving from both members of the unions and political organisations.

Merle Favis was arrested for her involvement in political activities in 1981 while working in Durban. After serving five months in detention without charge, she was released. Her work at the University of Natal as a manager for Community Welfare Funding gave her more time to organise various communities. While at Durban, she was able to work with the Indian Congress, the United Democratic Front and the Durban Democratic Association.

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Content and structure area

Scope and content

This collection is the result of Merle Favis' many years of activism. The collection includes correspondence, newsletters, newspaper cuttings, minutes of meetings, press releases, speeches and miscellaneous materials. Some of the organizations represented in this collection result from Merle gathering materials from fellow activists in Johannesburg and Durban.

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This collection is open for research

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