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pic7503. ‘We Mourn Bram Fischer’

Bram Fischer was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1966 for conspiring to commit sabotage and membership of the South African Communist Party. In 1963–64 he led the defence team at the trial of Nelson Mandela and his co-accused. The following year he went underground to keep anti-apartheid resistance alive within South Africa. The South African government refused to release him until a few days before his death from cancer on 8 May 1975. More than 300 people people gathered to honour him outside South Africa House.

 
arm07. ‘Stop Arms for Apartheid’ rally

One of the first decisions of the Conservative government elected in June 1970 was to resume arms sales to South Africa. Campaigning against arms sales became the AAM’s top priority. This leaflet advertised an AAM demonstration on 25 October. 10,000 people marched up Whitehall to Trafalgar Square, led by a model of a Buccaneer bomber. Demonstrators also besieged the office of aircraft manufacturer Hawker Siddeley, where several were arrested.

 
bom05. For and against the boycott, July 1959
 
Correspondence in a north London newspaper, the Finchley Press, 24 and 31 July 1959. Like the writer of one of these letters, opponents of the boycott often argued that it would hurt black workers. The Boycott Movement countered this by publicising an appeal for a boycott from ANC President Chief Albert Luthuli and other anti-apartheid leaders within South Africa.
 
hgs01. Dockers Leader Condemned to Die

Trade union and ANC activist Vuyisile Mini and his comrades Wilson Khayinga and Zinakile Mkhaba were sentenced to death for their alleged complicity in the killing of an informer. Mini was a gifted singer and writer of freedom songs. In spite of an international campaign and an appeal by the UN Security Council, the three men were hanged on 6 November 1964.

 
gov17. Letter from the Anti-Apartheid Movement to Margaret Thatcher

Letter to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher calling on the British government to support UN mandatory economic sanctions against South Africa in response to South Africa’s invasion of Angola in 1981.

 
msc11. ‘Boycott South African Goods’

Card promoting the boycott of South African goods.

 
pic6303. ‘No British Arms for South Africa’ rally

Labour MP Barbara Castle at a rally in Trafalgar Square against British arms sales to South Africa on 17 March 1963. The main speaker was the Labour Party’s new leader Harold Wilson. He told the Conservative government ‘Act now and stop this bloody traffic in the weapons of oppression’. When Labour came to power in October 1964 it announced a limited embargo, but fulfilled a contract for 18 Buccaneer bomber aircraft and continued to sell spare parts to the South African Defence Force.

 
pic6912. Springboks v Cardiff

Thousands of anti-apartheid supporters set out from Cardiff Civic Centre to march to Cardiff Arms Park in protest at the Springboks v Cardiff rugby match, 13 December 1969. There were anti-apartheid protests at all 24 games in the 1969/70 Springbok tour of Britain and Ireland.

 
pic7504. ‘Free student leaders’

AAM demonstrators picketed South Africa House in August 1975 to protest against continuing detentions without trial in South Africa, including that of the Afrikaans poet Breyten Breytenbach. They also called for the release of the nine leaders of the South African Student Organisation (SASO) and Black People’s Convention (BPC) leaders on trial under the Terrorism Act.

 
 
arm08. ‘We Say No to Arms to South Africa’

One of the first decisions of the Conservative government elected in June 1970 was to resume arms sales to South Africa. The AAM immediately appealed to people in Britain to oppose the decision. This leaflet publicised a 24-hour protest fast in Downing Street by former South African political prisoners. In 1971 a Gallup poll found that 71 per cent of people surveyed were opposed to arms sales.

 
bom06. Finchley public meeting


Leaflet advertising a meeting organised by a local Boycott Committee in Finchley and Friern Barnet, north London on 18 February 1960. In the run-up to the March Month of Boycott meetings like this were held all over Britain. One of the first local boycott actions took place in Finchley on Saturday 11 July 1959, organised by the Committee of African Organisations and Finchley Labour Party.

 
hgs02. ‘Stop the Execution of Solomon Mahlangu

Solomon Mahlangu was a young ANC freedom fighter sentenced to death in March 1978 for his involvement in a gun battle with police in which two men died. The judge accepted that he had not fired the fatal shots. Thousands of this postcard were distributed in Britain and as a result of the campaign the British Foreign Secretary David Owen intervened with the South African government. Despite worldwide demands for clemency, Mahlangu was hanged on 6 April 1979.

 
gov18. Memorandum on British Sporting Relations with South Africa

Memorandum asking the British government to enforce the Gleneagles Agreement on sporting links with South Africa.

 
msc12. Nelson Mandela tribute sculpture

Card advertising a sculpture made to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s release from prison.

 
Pic6306. ‘Save Sisulu and Mandela’

Yusuf Dadoo and Joe Slovo on the march that launched the AAM’s ‘Anti-Apartheid Month’ on 3 November 1963 in response to increasing repression in South Africa and the arrest of Nelson Mandela and his comrades in July.

 
pic6304. ‘No British Arms for South Africa’ rally

Labour Party leader Harold Wilson at a rally in Trafalgar Square against British arms sales to South Africa on 17 March 1963. He told the Conservative government ‘Act now and stop this bloody traffic in the weapons of oppression’. When Labour came to power in October 1964 it announced a limited embargo, but fulfilled a contract for 18 Buccaneer bomber aircraft and continued to sell spare parts to the South African Defence Force.

 
pic6913. Springboks v Cardiff

Anti-apartheid supporters marched from Cardiff’s docks area of Bute Town to protest at the Springboks v Cardiff rugby match, 13 December 1969. On the way to the ground they joined up with marchers from Cardiff City Centre. There were anti-apartheid protests at all 24 games in the 1969/70 Springbok tour of Britain and Ireland.

 
pic7601. ‘Stop Deaths in Detention’

Former Robben Island prisoner Joseph Mdluli was killed by South African Security Police on 19 March 1976, the day after he was detained under the Terrorism Act. This picket was part of a three-day protest outside South Africa House, 7–9 April. Demonstrators carried placards with the names of the 23 other people known to have died in detention. In the mid-1970s there was a big increase in the number of South Africans detained without trial.

 
arm09. ‘Stop the Wasps’

One of the first decisions of the Conservative government elected in June 1970 was to resume arms sales to South Africa. Wasp helicopters, manufactured by Westland Helicopters in Hayes, near London, were on the South African shopping list. This leaflet asked all British people who were opposed to apartheid to join the campaign against arms sales.

 

 
bom07. Appeal from Chief Luthuli


This statement was published in Boycott News early in 1960. It was signed by Chief Albert Luthuli, President of the ANC, Dr G M Naicker, President of the South African Indian Congress and Peter Brown, Chairman of the South African Liberal Party. For the next 35 years the AAM based its boycott campaigns on this appeal. Boycott News was widely circulated in the March Month of Boycott Action. Three issues of the broadsheet were produced.

 
 
 
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