SALO Commemorates the anniversary of Dr. Renfrew Christie’s 10 year prison sentence, on the 6th of June

Dr Renfrew Christie

Dr. Renfrew Christie, SALO associate and liberation struggle stalwart, was a whistle-blower for the African National Congress, on the Apartheid Nuclear Weapons Program. He was arrested under the Terrorism Act, and interrogated and tortured by the Security Police.  On the 6th of June 1980 he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for Terrorism, with four other sentences of five years each to run concurrently. Dr. Christie served seven and a half years in Pretoria Central prison. He was kept in solitary for over seven months; and on Death Row for two and half years, where he listened to some 300 people being hanged.

In Christie’s so-called “confession”, he actually put down all his recommendations to the ANC. The judge read his confession out loud and thus helped his recommendations to be printed and spread, via the hands of democratic lawyers, to the ANC in London.

Dr Renfrew Christie is a Fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa; a Member of the Academy of Science of South Africa; and a part-time Adviser to the SA Minister of Defence, as a Defence Force Service Commissioner. He was Professor of History in the University of Kentucky for the Spring Semester of 2015. He retired in 2014, having been a Senior Professor and Dean of Research in the University of the Western Cape, South Africa, for 24 years. His fields include Politics, Economics and the History of Science and Technology. His 1979 Oxford DPhil treated the Electrification of South Africa, over 70 years.

His handwriting was on the second draft of the South African Bill of Rights. For 24 years he served on the Board of Trustees of South Africa’s premier human rights law unit, the UWC Community Law Centre. He chaired the Board for 15 years. He co-founded the Macro Economic Research Group and the National Institute for Economic policy, which helped set South Africa’s economy right after Apartheid. He holds the Certificate of Commendation of the Chief of the South African Navy, for work “which helped to make the SA Navy the Navy the people need”.

He chaired the South African Commonwealth Scholarships Selection Committee for 15 years. He held visiting fellowships in the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington D.C.; the Stiftung fur Wissenschaft und Politik, then in Ebenhausen; and the Indian Ocean Peace Centre, in Perth, Western Australia. He has addressed the Groupe Crises of the Institut de France on the Quai de Conti, Paris. He attended both the Lisbon and Singapore World Conferences on Research Integrity. He is a signatory on the Singapore Statement on Research Integrity. He is co-author of Responsible Conduct in the Global Research Enterprise: A Policy Report, InterAcademy Council/ InterAcademy Partnership, 2012, and of InterAcademy Partnership, Doing Global Science: A Guide to Responsible Conduct in the Global Research Enterprise, Princeton University Press, 2016. Recent papers delivered include work on the Blue Economy, the future of the Indian Ocean Region, and on Science Diplomacy.

Full bio available at