After Nelson Mandela and seven of his co-accused were convicted of sabotage on 11 June 1964 there was a real danger that the trial judge would impose the death sentence. Supporters in London kept up a three-day vigil opposite South Africa House and 50 MPs marched from the House of Commons to present a petition to the South African ambassador. The vigil culminated in a rally in Trafalgar Square on 14 June. When the sentence of life imprisonment was announced on 12 June it was seen as a victory for the international campaign to save the lives of the eight men.
Anti-apartheid supporters on the march to Cardiff Arms Park to protest at the Springboks v Cardiff rugby match, 13 December 1969. At the junction of Castle Street and Westgate Street they were barred by police to stop them reaching the rugby ground. There were anti-apartheid protests at all 24 games in the 1969/70 Springbok tour of Britain and Ireland.
British actors, including Sheila Hancock, Albert Finney, Robert Morley, Kenneth Williams and Kenneth Haigh, handed in a letter to South Africa House on 13 October 1976. They were calling for the release of South African actors John Kani and Winston Tshona. Other signatories were Dame Peggy Ashcroft and playwrights David Hare and Howard Brenton.
Solomon Mahlangu was sentenced to death on 2 March 1978 after being present at an incident in Johannesburg during which two white bystanders were killed. The AAM organised weekly demonstrations outside South Africa House calling for his release. Thousands signed a petition asking the British government to intervene. This picket was held on 2 August 1978. In the photograph are Bob Wright, Assistant General Secretary of AUEW (Engineering), Jim Slater, General Secretary of the National Union of Seamen (NUS) and members of the NUS Executive.
Leaflet publicising a rally in Trafalgar Square on 3 June 1962.
One of the first decisions of the Conservative government elected in June 1970 was to resume arms sales to South Africa. This Declaration was launched in November 1970 and in the next seven weeks it was signed by over 100,000 people. It was presented to the Commonwealth Prime Ministers Conference in Singapore by the AAM’s Hon. Secretary Abdul Minty in January 1971.
The March Month of Boycott in 1960 was supported by the local Africa Councils set up by the Africa Bureau. This leaflet was distributed by Tyneside Africa Council.
Sussex University students marched from Brighton to London on 12 and 13 June 1964, on the eve of the sentencing of Nelson Mandela and his co-accused. The march was organised by Thabo Mbeki, whose father Govan Mbeki was one of the accused.
Stop the Seventy Tour (STST) supporters blocked the coach taking the Springbok rugby team to Twickenham for their international against England on 20 December 1969. Earlier the team returned to their hotel after a protester chained himself to the steering wheel.
The 1970–74 Conservative government lifted Labour’s ban on British arms sales to South Africa. In March 1971 it announced the sale of seven Westland Wasp helicopters to the South African Defence Force. The photograph shows anti-apartheid supporters protesting in Downing Street. Although the Wasps were supplied, opposition from British public opinion and from the Commonwealth was so strong that that no other arms deals were agreed.
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 by 300 ANC and AAM supporters on 9 April was the climax of a three-day protest against his death outside South Africa House. In the photograph are Bishops Richard Wood and Colin Winter.
Forty former South African political prisoners held a 24-hour fast in support of Solomon Mahlangu on the steps of St Martin’s in the Fields, Trafalgar Square in August 1978. They collected signatures to a petition asking Prime Minister James Callaghan to intervene with the South African government. Mahlangu was sentenced to death on 2 March 1978 for being present at an incident in Johannesburg during which two white bystanders were killed.
One of the first decisions of the Conservative government elected in June 1970 was to resume arms sales to South Africa. The AAM launched an international campaign in defence of the arms embargo. Thousands of this postcard addressed to Prime Minister Edward Health were distributed to AAM members, and to trade unions and other organisations.
This leaflet advertised the march and rally on 28 February 1960 that launched the March Month of Boycott in 1960. Six thousand people marched from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square. The speakers included Labour Leader Hugh Gaitskell, Liberal MP Jeremy Thorpe, Conservative Lord Altrincham, ANC leader Tennyson Makiwane and Rita Smythe from the Co-operative Women’s Guild. The rally was chaired by Trevor Huddleston.
Poster advertising a rally on South Africa Freedom Day, 26 June 1980, to mark the 25th anniversary of the Freedom Charter. The rally was organised by an umbrella group, the South Africa Freedom Day Committee, and the main speaker was ANC Secretary-General Alfred Nzo. The ANC declared 1980 the ‘Year of the Charter’ and the AAM distributed thousands of copies of the Freedom Charter during the year.
Masked anti-apartheid supporters protest before the Springboks v Wales game in Cardiff, 24 January 1970. There were anti-apartheid protests at all 24 games in the Springboks 1969/70 tour of Britain and Ireland.
Slogan painted on the wall of Westland Helicopters factory at Hayes, near London, the night before an AAM demonstration there on 20 March 1971.
Participants in a conference on Repression in Southern Africa organised by the AAM and Southern Africa the Imprisoned Society (SATIS) on 16 April 1977. Specialist groups discussed campaigning among lawyers, trade unionists, students, church people and journalists. Two groups focused on Zimbabwe and Namibia. Left to right: Rev Cecil Begbie, Nkosazana Dlamini, Horst Kleinschmidt, SWAPO representative Shapua Kaukungua and ZAPU representative Arthur Chadzingwa.
Mandela Pioneers, the children of ANC supporters, outside South Africa House on 27 December 1978. They carried placards asking passers-by to remember the massacres at Sharpeville and Soweto. They were also supporting young ANC activist Solomon Mahlangu, condemned to death in South Africa in March 1978.
Scottish AAM supporters marched through Glasgow on 12 December 1980, calling for the release of Nelson Mandela .