Daily Dispatch editor, Donald Woods, arrives in Britain with his family


Donald Woods

Friday, 6 January 1978

On 6 January 1978, Donald James Woods, editor of the banned Daily Dispatch a newspaper based in East London arrived in Britain with his family after fleeing South Africa via Lesotho and Botswana. Woods was prosecuted seven times under the apartheid government's publication laws and sentenced to jail for revealing Security Police brutality.

After the death of his friend, Steve Biko, Woods was arrested by the Security Police and served with a banning order. Following attacks on his home and family by the Security Police, he fled the country with his wife and five children, arriving in London in 1978. The pro-government Afrikaans press launched a smear campaign against him. In contrast the British and American press gave wide and sympathetic coverage to the story of his escape.

Woods was born at Hobeni, in the Mbashe area of Transkei in the Eastern Cape in 1933. While in he was in exile, he wrote eight books and campaigned ceaselessly against apartheid. Prior to his death in 2001, Woods was given the Commander of the British Empire (CBE) award for his services to human rights issues

• South African Guide, (2010), South Africa Apartheid Activists - Famous South Africans - Donald Woods, from South African Guide, 15 May, [online], Available at www.thesouthafricaguide.com [Accessed: 22 November 2010]
• H2G2, (2011), Donald Woods - the Man Who Told us of Biko, from BBC, 18 January, [online], Available at www.bbc.co.uk [Accessed: 22 November 2010]
• Donald Woods Foundation, (2012), 'Donald Woods Profile', from Donald Woods Foundation, [online], Available at www.donaldwoodsfoundation.org [Accessed: 29 November 2010]

Last updated : 04-Dec-2013

This article was produced for South African History Online on 16-Mar-2011