Calling all former activists

If you were previously an anti-apartheid activist we would like to hear from you. Email your story to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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Borrow an exhibition

A pop-up exhibition ‘Forward to Freedom: The history of the Anti-Apartheid Movement’ is available on loan. If you want to borrow it or can suggest a venue where it can be displayed contact us by email
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
(22 lightweight A2 boards)

Introduction low res

Video Mandela Concert at Wembley 1988

 

Video Anti-Apartheid Movement Hyde Park Rally 1988

 

Video Fruits of Fear campaigns film

Video Have You Heard From Johannesburg

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These video interviews are taken from the award winning film series ‘Have You Heard from Johannesburg?’, a Clarity Films production, produced and directed by Connie Field. 

http://www.clarityfilms.org/haveyouheardfromjohannesburg

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Forward to Freedom

Forward to Freedom tells the story of the British Anti-Apartheid Movement and its campaigns to support the people of South Africa in their fight against apartheid. The AAM also campaigned for freedom for Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Angola, and against South Africa’s attacks on its neighbours.

On this website you can find out how hundreds of thousands of people all over Britain took part in anti-apartheid activities. You can watch demonstrations and concerts, and hear from some of those involved. We hope you will find it interesting and look forward to hearing from you. Please send your feedback and questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The website is part of a wider education project set up by the AAM Archives Committee that includes a pop-up exhibition and learning resources. It has been funded by the Barry Amiel & Norman Melburn Trust and the Heritage Lottery Fund, and organised in partnership with Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA).

The AAM archive is held at the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford and is open to researchers on application for a Bodleian reader’s card. The archive of Wales AAM is at the National Library of Wales, Aberystwth and that of the Scottish AA Committee at Glasgow Caledonian University. Records for many local AA Groups, such as Bristol, Birmingham and Edinburgh, are held at local record offices – see ‘Other Links’.

Follow us on Twitter: @aamarchives

News, events and features

  • Liverpool University sit-in, 1970

    In March 1970 Liverpool students occupied the university’s Senate House to press demands that included disinvestment from South Africa and the resignation of the University’s Chancellor, the Marquess of Salisbury. Nine students, including Channel 4 news presenter Jon Snow, were suspended and one, Pete Cresswell, was expelled. Pete never did get the degree he had spent three years working for. Last December, 46 years later,  Liverpool University gave him an honorary degree. In this video Jon Snow remembers the sit-in and pays tribute to Pete: https://twitter.com/livuninews/status/806863029388398592

     
  • New on the website – Leeds Women Against Apartheid

    LWAALeeds Women Against Apartheid was formed in 1986 to bring together women in support of their sisters in South Africa and Namibia. The group reached out to women’s organisations in West Yorkshire, raising funds for women in Southern Africa, boycotting apartheid goods and holding day schools publicising the situation of women under apartheid. It was linked to a women’s group in Soshunguve township, near Pretoria. These leaflets and posters are from the collection of LWAA publicity material held by the Feminist Archive North (FAN) http://www.aamarchives.org/file-view/category/10-all-files.html?s_f_id=13604

     
  • South Africa: the Art of a Nation

     British Museum, 27 October–28 February 2017

    This major exhibition tells South Africa’s history through its art, from the rock art made by the country’s earliest peoples to 20th century works combating apartheid and pieces that illustrate the post-apartheid transformation. The exhibition includes badges and other rmaterial from the Anti-Apartheid Movement. http://www.britishmuseum.org/whats_on/exhibitions/south_africa.aspx

     

Browse an archive of photos and documents

selection of posters

 

Former activists tell their stories

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A significant part of this project was to record the experiences of former activists in Britain.

Jerry Dammers formed the Specials in Coventry in 1977. An anti-apartheid activist from his school days he helped start Artists Against Apartheid in the UK to campaign and help enforce the cultural boycott. He wrote the song, Free Nelson Mandela, which became an international hit and helped raise awareness of the plight of Mandela and political prisoners in South Africa.

You can hear him talk about writing the song

 

 Learn about the history of the Anti-Apartheid Movement through the decades

pic6404In 1964 Marlon Brando asked film directors, actors and producers to forbid the screening of their films before segregated audiences in South Africa on a visit to London. In this photograph he is at a press conference with the Anti-Apartheid Movement’s Hon. Secretary Abdul Minty.

The Rolling Stones broke off negotiations for a South African tour and the Beatles announced they opposed apartheid.

Read more about this history starting with the Boycott Movement in 1959, through the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

Barry Amiel and Norman Melburn Trust logoBODLEIAN-LIBRARIES-logoACTSA logoHeritage Lottery Fund logo