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History

1960s (62)
1970s (92)
1980s (169)
Namibia (101)
1950s (3)
1990s (89)
arm19. ‘No arms for apartheid’ petition

After the 1976 Soweto uprising the AAM stepped up its campaign for the Labour government to end all contacts between the British and South African armed forces and support a mandatory UN embargo. This petition was signed by 64,000 people and presented to the Foreign Secretary David Owen on 21 March 1977, the anniversary of the Sharpeville massacre. In November Britain dropped its veto and the UN imposed a mandatory arms ban on South Africa.

 
pic8502. SWAPO 25th anniversary rally

South West Africa People’s Organisation (SWAPO) representative Shapua Kaukungua spoke at a rally to mark SWAPO’s 25th anniversary on 18 April 1985. The rally was organised by the AAM and the Namibia Support Committee.

 
pic8508. AAM demonstration for sanctions

Clarence Thompson, General Secretary of the West Indian Standing Conference, speaking at the AAM rally in Trafalgar Square on 16 June 1985. 25,000 people marched up Whitehall to Trafalgar Square on 16 June 1985 to demand sanctions against South Africa. Left to right: Jerry Herman from the US Disinvestment Campaign, Trevor Huddleston, Denis Goldberg of the ANC, Clarence Thompson, Zerbanoo Gifford of the Liberal Party and SWAPO leader Hidipo Hamutenya.

 
pic9302. ‘Peace, Freedom and the Vote’

A big crowd in Trafalgar Square heard Walter Sisulu demand immediate agreement on an election date on 20 June 1993. The rally was the climax of the AAM’s campaign to win support in Britain for one person one vote elections and a unitary constitution for South Africa. Also on the platform were Bill Morris, General Secretary of the British transport workers union, Lorna Fitzsimmons, President of the National Union of Students and MPs Michael Meacher and Simon Hughes. In a dramatic breakthrough two weeks later, on 2 July, it was agreed that an election would be held on 27 April 1994.

 
zim12. Pearce Commission London hearings

The Pearce Commission was set up to determine whether the proposals agreed by the Conservative government and the Smith regime in November 1971 were acceptable to the majority of the Zimbabwean people. The AAM organised daily pickets outside the Commission’s London hearings in March 1972 calling for no independence before majority rule. The Commission found that the majority of Zimbabweans rejected the proposals, in spite of widespread intimidation within the country.

 
bom14. Boycott Month Campaign Plans

The Boycott Movement circulated these guidelines for setting up local organising committees for the March Boycott Month in 1960. They stressed the need to win broad support for the boycott and suggested approaching faith and women’s groups, trade unions, students and chambers of commerce. They asked supporters to talk to shoppers on the streets, not just pass resolutions.

 
arm04. ‘No British Arms for South Africa’

The Labour government elected in October 1964 continued to supply spare parts for South African military equipment and to train SADF personnel. It also supplied 18 Buccaneer aircraft under a contract signed by the Conservative government. The AAM campaigned against this as a betrayal of Labour Leader Harold Wilson’s pledge to ‘stop this bloody traffic in the weapons of oppression’.

 
pic8509. Protest against the South African State of Emergency, 1985

On 20 July 1985 the apartheid government imposed a draconian State of Emergency in key areas of South Africa. As well as protesting outside the South African Embassy, the AAM met Conservative Foreign Office Minister Malcolm Rifkind to press for sanctions against South Africa.

 
pri34. ‘Defend the Namibian 8!’

The special police unit Koevoet was known for its extreme brutality perpetrated on captured Namibian freedom fighters. This leaflet publicised the case of eight supporters of the South West Africa People’s Organisation (SWAPO) charged under the Terrorism Act and tortured to force them to confess to the charges.

 
70s01. Sharpeville Massacre Tenth Anniversary

The AAM staged a re-enactment of the Sharpeville shootings in Trafalgar Square on 21 March 1970 to mark the tenth anniversary of the massacre. Bishop Ambrose Reeves, Bishop of Johannesburg at the time of the shootings, spoke about life under apartheid ten years on. The following evening, the AAM presented a programme of specially commissioned short plays by leading British playwrights before an audience of 1,500 at the Lyceum Theatre. Both events received wide media coverage.

 
pic9303. ‘Peace, Freedom and the Vote’

A big crowd in Trafalgar Square heard Walter Sisulu demand immediate agreement on an election date on 20 June 1993. The rally was the climax of the AAM’s campaign to win support in Britain for one person one vote elections and a unitary constitution for South Africa. Also on the platform were Bill Morris, General Secretary of the British transport workers union, Lorna Fitzsimmons, President of the National Union of Students and MPs Michael Meacher and Simon Hughes. In a dramatic breakthrough two weeks later, on 2 July, it was agreed that an election would be held on 27 April 1994.

 
bom15. Trade unionists back the boycott

The TUC distributed this leaflet calling on trade unionists to boycott South African goods in response to a call from the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU). It asked them to support the Boycott Committee’s March Month of Boycott. It held back from taking the more radical step proposed by the ICFTU of asking its affiliated unions to instruct their members not to handle products from South Africa.

 
zim13. ‘Fight the Sell-out’

This leaflet drew attention to the widespread repression within Zimbabwe while the Pearce Commission was conducting its test of African opinion on the settlement proposals agreed by British Foreign Secretary Alec Douglas-Home and Ian Smith in 1971. It set out ways in which AAM supporters could alert British public opinion to the failure of the proposals to ensure African majority rule.

 
tsh21. Independence Day 21 March 1990

T-shirt produced to celebrate the independence of Namibia

 
arm05. South Africa’s Defence Strategy

This pamphlet detailed South Africa’s arms build-up in the 1960s and argued that Western military support for apartheid could lead to a global racial conflagration. It was widely distributed and ran into several editions.

 
pic8513. AAM sanctions press conference

Trevor Huddleston, Jesse Jackson and GLC member Paul Boateng at a press conference to announce a March against Apartheid on 2 November 1985. The march took place just after Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher rejected most of the sanctions measures imposed by the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Nassau.

 
70s02. An Evening of Freedom Theatre

On 22 March 1970 the AAM staged a fundraising evening of Freedom Theatre to mark the tenth anniversary of the Sharpeville massacre. The programme included short plays by leading British playwrights and attracted an audience of 1,500 at the Lyceum Theatre. The evening received wide media coverage. The AAM depended on membership subscriptions and events such as this to fund its campaigns.

 
pic8729. Consolidated Goldfields annual general meeting

Outside the annual general meeting of Consolidated Goldfields in London on 4 November 1987. A ‘judge’ holds the scales of justice symbolising South Africa’s ‘rule of law’ in Namibia. In August 1987 ConsGold sacked 4,000 Namibian mineworkers at its Tsumeb mine.

 
pic9304. ‘Making Hope a Reality’ conference

A conference organised by the AAM in London in June 1993 discussed post-apartheid solidarity and mapped out a new agenda of support for the people of Southern Africa. The conference was convened by AAM President Trevor Huddleston and the former President of Tanzania, Julius Nyerere, with the support of the UN Special Committee against Apartheid. The main speakers were Walter Sisulu and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Left to right: Graca Machel, Desmond Tutu, Abdul Minty, Trevor Huddleston, Julius Nyerere and Walter Sisulu.

 
msc22. ‘South Africa Countdown to Freedom

Mug celebrating South Africa’s first democratic election, held on 27 April 1994.

 
 
 
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