Leaflet for window display in the March Month of Boycott Action.
Mug produced for the campaign for a boycott of South African gold.
Demonstrators waiting for the arrival of South African Defence Minister P W Botha at the Ministry of Defence in Whitehall, 10 June 1971. Tomatoes and smoke flares were thrown at him as he entered the Ministry. Botha was seeking assurances that Britain would supply warships to South Africa. The 1970–74 Conservative government announced that it would lift the arms embargo against South Africa, but because of public opposition the only weapons it supplied were seven Wasp helicopters.
Anti-apartheid demonstrators asked rugby players not to take part in the British Lions tour of South Africa in 1974. The photograph shows a protest at the England v Wales match at Twickenham on 16 March. Other protesters displayed banners on the roof of the RFU’s headquarters. Welsh international John Taylor refused to take part in the tour.
Leaflet publicising a rally 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.
On 11 October 1982 the AAM launched a new campaign for the release of Nelson Mandela in response to a request from Oliver Tambo. On the eve of the launch supporters took part in a ‘Free Nelson Mandela’ sponsored cycle ride from Richmond Park to Trafalgar Square. Next day the AAM launched an international petition calling for Mandela’s release and held a torchlight vigil outside the South African Embassy.
Tyneside AA Group picketed a concert by singer-songwriter Leo Sayer in Newcastle City Hall in May 1983. Sayer had played in Sun City, South Africa, in contravention of the cultural boycott. In 1983 the UN Special Committee against Apartheid set up a register of performers who had played in South Africa. Newcastle City Council tried to cancel the concert, but was forced to let it go ahead after consulting legal opinion. In the picture is Namibian student Gotthard Garoeb.
The Moroka Three, Jerry Mosololi, Marcus Motaung and Thelle Mogoerane, were young ANC members convicted of belonging to the ANC’s armed wing Umkhonto we Sizwe. They were sentenced to death and hanged on 9 June 1983 in spite of a huge international campaign for clemency. Supporters of SATIS (Southern Africa the Imprisoned Society) held an all night vigil outside the South African embassy on the night before their execution. The picture shows a South African Embassy official removing wreaths attached to the embassy gate in memory of the three men.
In 1974 the newly elected Labour government authorised joint naval exercises with the South African navy. The AAM accused it of failing to honour its election manifesto commitments and campaigned for pressure from Labour supporters against all military and economic links with South Africa.
25,000 anti-apartheid supporters marched up Whitehall to Trafalgar Square on 16 June 1985 to demand sanctions against South Africa. They carried coffins symbolising the victims of South African security force massacres in Namibia and South Africa.
This petition was launched on 11 October 1982, International Day of Solidarity with South African Political Prisoners. At the same time, the Free Nelson Mandela Co-ordinating Committee was set up to ask sympathetic groups to organise events to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s 65th birthday on 18 July 1983.
The Labour Party supported the March Month of Boycott Action as part of its 1960 Africa Year initiative. The Boycott Movement was initially wary about the boycott being taken over by the Labour Party, but its involvement made a big difference to the scale of the campaign. Twenty-one Labour local councils banned South African goods from their schools and town halls. The Party organised 27 local conferences all over Britain. The boycott was the main theme of a party political broadcast by Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell on 9 March.
Mug telling the story of a black South African worker sentenced to 18 months in gaol for writing ‘Release Nelson Mandela’ on his tea mug.
South African Defence Minister P W Botha visited the Ministry of Defence on 10 June 1971 for talks with his British counterpart Lord Carrington. Protesters threw tomatoes and smoke flares as he entered the Ministry. Botha was seeking assurances that Britain would supply warships to South Africa. The 1970–74 Conservative government announced that it would lift the arms embargo against South Africa, but because of public opposition the only weapons it supplied were seven Wasp helicopters.
Counter-demonstration by members of the far-right National Front at Twickenham, 16 March 1974. Anti-apartheid supporters were protesting against the British Lions tour of South Africa.
In the early 1960s Britain was South Africa’s main arms supplier. The call for it to stop supplying arms for apartheid was one of the AAM’s main campaigning issues.
British trade unionists protested outside South Africa House on the first day of the trial of veteran South African trade unionist Oscar Mpetha on 3 March 1981. After a long trial Mpetha was sentenced to five years imprisonment. He was released in 1989 soon after his 80th birthday. In the picture is Bill Rampton from the train drivers union ASLEF, with the banner of the committee set up by the draughtsmen’s trade union AUEW (TASS) to support its former member, political prisoner David Kitson.
Leeds City Council formally welcomed ANC representative Ruth Mompati to Leeds in the winter of 1982. In the picture with Ruth Mompati is the Deputy Lord Mayor Rose Lund. The Council named the gardens in front of the Civic Hall the Nelson Mandela Gardens. Leeds was one of many local authorities to show its opposition to apartheid in the 1980s.