Ann Tobias was a member of the Liberal Party of South Africa during Apartheid. The party strongly opposed Apartheid policies and the government would go on to ban many of its members. More than a third of the banned members would go on to leave South Africa to be in exile, including Ann Tobias. She was the daughter of a retired Anglican bishop from northern Namibia (then South-West Africa), and her brother headed the Department of Extra-Mural Studies at the University of Cape Town until he emigrated to New Zealand. She worked as an editor at the newspaper Contact, which was closely tied to the Liberal Party, although officially it was a separate publication. It was the only pro-Liberal Party newspaper in the country. The newspaper was started by anti-Apartheid activist Patrick Duncan. Ann Tobias succeeded him as editor. At the time she was Vice-Chair of the Liberal Party in the Western Cape. Ann Tobias wrote that the only way out of a banning order was choosing to leave the country, where ”If you apply, you will be allowed to leave the country permanently on a one-way exit permit. If you return after that you are liable to two years in prison and deportation, for in using the permit you have surrendered your citizenship.” She chose to go into exile through this process. Randolph Vigne in his book, Liberals against Apartheid: A History of the Liberal Party of South Africa, 1953-68, wrote that after a two year suspended sentence for breaking her ban by having a braai on Table Mountain with two friends. After this incident, she said, “Sooner or later I was going to goal for nonsense and it began to make sense to think of getting out.” *A banning order entailed restrictions on where the banned person could live and who they could have contact with, required that they report weekly to a police station, and proscribed them from travelling outside a specific magisterial district. The banned person was prohibited from attending meetings of any kind, speaking in public, or publishing or distributing any written material.

Randolph Vigne, Liberals against Apartheid: A History of the Liberal Party of South Africa, 1953-68, (1997) Keith Gottschalk, Contact: an introductory essay, [online], [Accessed 28 February 2020]

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