Author & Speaker

I am an author, speaker and fighter against racism in all its forms.

Picture of ruth weiss
cover of a path through hard grass

An activist in the anti-Apartheid movement

I interviewed Nelson Mandela when he was on the run from the police, shortly before his incarceration. A short time later, I was forced to flee South Africa to avoid imprisonment.

My books are young adult, historical fiction. The past has a long future, as I say in my most famous work, My Sister Sara. In its 12th edition and a set work for seniors in German high schools, has created an incredible amount of discussion and has a loyal following. For the first time,  it is now available in English.


Ruth Weiss Realschule

The naming of the Ruth Weiss Realschule honors two central values in my work: respect and tolerance. These draw from my early life growing up near Nuremberg. 

Ruth Weiss Gesellschaft eV

The Ruth Weiss Society emerged from Ruth’s large circle of friends. Its aim and purpose is, according to our association’s statutes, “the promotion of art and culture by spreading the values ​​of the author Ruth Weiss, in particular her efforts to create a society that is characterized by tolerance, humanity and the fight against racism.”

Pen Zentrum

Honorary President

Ruth Weiss was involved early on against racism and the apartheid system in South Africa. During those years Ruth Weiss was in close contact with Nelson Mandela, whom she met in 1960, as well as with many other leaders of the African freedom movement. She has long been considered one of the most important African voices against racism, misogyny and anti-Semitism. In the early 1960s she was on the system’s “black list” and feared personal persecution. She was officially declared persona non grata and could no longer enter South Africa. It was not until 1991 that it was removed from the “black list” there.

cover of a path through hard grass

REad Ruth Weiss' autobiography

A Path Through Hard Grass. A Journalist’s Memories of Exile and Apartheid


A child of a Jewish family fleeing Nazi-Germany and settling in apartheid South Africa in the 1930s, Ruth Weiss’ journalistic career starts in Johannesburg of the 1950s. In 1968 banned from her home country, and then also from Rhodesia for her critical investigative journalism, she starts reporting from Lusaka, London and Cologne on virtually all issues which affect the newly independent African countries. Peasants and national leaders in southern Africa – Ruth Weiss met them all, traveling through Africa at a time when it was neither usual for a woman to do so, nor to report for economic media as she did. Her writing gained her the friendship of diverse and interesting people. In this book she offers us glimpses into some of her many long-nurtured friendships, with Kenneth Kaunda or Nadine Gordimer and many others. Her life-long quest for tolerance and understanding of different cultures shines through the many personalized stories which her astute eye and pen reveals in this book. As she put it, one never sheds the cultural vest donned at birth, but this should never stop one learning about and accepting other cultures.

News & Events

African Women

I’ve sometimes been glad to see a clip of African traders broadly smiling while praising their business success, spurred on by their smartphones. Technology is a blessing for these marketers, I thought smugly; imagine phones, laptops, tablets, and digitalization helping to wipe out the African gender gap.

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Unfortunately, international issues such as Ukraine, the Middle East, and others, allowed us to ignore other conflicts. This is disturbing!

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