Sir Geoffrey Bindman is a lawyer and was Chair of Southern Africa the Imprisoned Society (SATIS ). SATIS publicised political trials, called for the release of those detained without trial and mobilised public opinion against the hanging of political prisoners.It campaigned for the release of thousands of anti-apartheid activists, including many children, detained under the States of Emergency imposed in the mid-1980s.
In this clip Sir Geoffrey describes his experience of investigating the legal aspects of apartheid and visiting political prisoners in South Africa.
Chitra Karve was an Anti-Apartheid Movement staff member from 1986 to 1989 and helped organise the 1988 Nelson Mandela: Freedom at 70 campaign. She was a member of the AAM Women’s and Black Solidarity Committees, and was Chair of the latter. After the formation of Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA) in 1994 Chitra was elected to ACTSA’s Executive Committee. She is currently Chair of ACTSA.
This is a complete transcript of an interview carried out as part of the Forward to Freedom history project in 2014.
Peter Ahrends was born in Berlin in 1933. His family fled the Nazis and arrived in South Africa in 1937. He left at the age of 18 to study architecture in London. Peter became chair of UK Architects Against Apartheid, an affiliate of the Anti-Apartheid Movement. He campaigned for a cultural and academic boycott of South Africa and called for the de-recognition of the Institute of South African Architects by the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects).
In this clip Peter describes his memory of witnessing racism in South Africa as a child.
Leaflet advertising a picket of South Africa House on International Women’s Day, 1990. South Africa continued to hold hundreds of political prisoners and detainees, including many women, after the release of Nelson Mandela in February 1990. The campaign for the release of all political prisoners was one of the priorities of the AAM in the early 1990s.
On the march from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square to launch the March Month of Boycott Action in 1960. During the month, local councils all over Britain banned South African goods and supporters distributed leaflets to shoppers calling for a boycott. The month was organised by the Boycott Movement, set up in 1959.
AAM supporters asked spectators to boycott the Springboks v Glamorgan cricket match at St Helen’s, Swansea, 31 June 1965
The crowd at a rally in Trafalgar Square to mark the tenth anniversary of UDI, held on 9 November 1975. Demonstrators called for an end to the execution of freedom fighters by the Smith regime. Speakers included Methodist minister David Haslam, Roger Lyons of the white collar union ASTMS and Peter Hain, speaking for the National League of Young Liberals.
Anti-apartheid supporters picketed around 250 branches of Barclays Bank all over Britain on 1 March 1978. The pickets were part of a March month of action against apartheid held to launch the UN International Anti-Apartheid Year. The photograph shows a protest outside a branch of Barclays in Victoria, central London organised by End Loans to Southern Africa (ELTSA). British-owned Barclays Bank was the biggest high street bank in South Africa. After a 16-year campaign by the AAM, Barclays withdrew from South Africa in 1986.
The AAM made this appeal to trade unionists in September 1986, soon after a countrywide state of emergency was introduced in South Africa. Its emphasis was on the general campaign for sanctions rather than, as in the 1970s, campaigns against individual companies or support for South African workers.
In February 1988 the AAM Trade Union Committee and Southern Africa the Imprisoned Society (SATIS) launched a Joint Campaign against the Repression of Trade Unionists in South Africa and Namibia. The campaign was a response to the increased repression of trade unionists by the apartheid regime. Four trade union leaders were sentenced to death and hundreds were detained. This leaflet publicised a demonstration at the South African Embassy, attended by over 200 trade unionists.
Ernest Rodker was active in Stop the Seventy Tour and helped organise direct action against the Springbok rugby tour of Britain in 1969–70. He was arrested on several occasions and was part of a group that organised undercover action to disrupt the tour. He was very active in the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in its earliest years and in the anti-nuclear Committee of 100, as well as in the campaign against the Vietnam war.
This is a complete transcript of an interview carried out as part of the ‘Forward to Freedom’ AAM history project in 2013.
Jerry Dammers formed the Specials in Coventry in 1977. He was an anti-apartheid activist from his school days, and in 1986 founded Artists Against Apartheid to involve musicians in anti-apartheid campaigns and promote the cultural boycott of South Africa. He wrote the song ‘Free Nelson Mandela’, which became an international hit and helped raise awareness of the situation of Nelson Mandela and political prisoners in South Africa.
In this longer clip (approximately 30 minutes) Jerry taks about his anti-apartheid work.
Vijay Krishnarayan became involved in the Anti-Apartheid Movement in 1984 while studying town and country planning at Oxford Polytechnic. As student union president, he was elected to the National Council of the student section of the Labour Party and in 1988 took part in the Mandela Freedom March from Glasgow to London. In 1989, he campaigned against the rebel cricket tour to South Africa before moving on to a career in civil society organisations, promoting people-to-people solidarity.
In this clip Vijay tells how he walked over 600 miles from Glasgow to London as one of the Mandela freedom marchers in the summer of 1988.
Paul Blomfield set up Sheffield Anti-Apartheid Group in 1978 and served as its Secretary until the early 1990s. In 1976 he visited South Africa after the Soweto school students uprising at the request of the ANC. His report of the visit is on this website (stu25. IUS Solidarity Mission Report). He is now the Labour MP for Sheffield Central.
In this clip Paul Blomfield describes how Sheffield AA Group organised a city-wide campaign to pressure Barclays Bank into withdrawing from South Africa.
Sean O’Donovan became involved in the Anti-Apartheid Movement in 1984 as a student at Middlesex Polytechnic. He joined Haringey Anti-Apartheid Group in north London and served as its Secretary, and later Chair, until it disbanded in 1994. He was active in the London AA Committee, the co-ordinating body for London anti-apartheid groups, and served on the AAM National Executive. He now works as a caseworker for a Labour MP.
In this clip Sean describes a demonstration at the opening of a local supermarket, where the mayor of Haringey and the local MP joined members of Haringey AA Group in asking the store not to sell South African goods.
Richard Caborn was the Labour MP for Sheffield Central, 1983–2010, and Minister for Sport, 2001–2007. He joined the Anti-Apartheid Movement when he was a trade union official in the 1970s and was a founder member of Sheffield Anti-Apartheid Group. He served as the Anti-Apartheid Movement’s national Treasurer, 1989–1994. In 1984 he became Secretary of the all-party parliamentary group on Southern Africa.
In this clip Richard Caborn tells how the parliamentary group on Southern Africa used a sympathetic Conservative intermediary to make representations to Prime Minister Thatcher about political prisoners on death row.
Mike Pye was a Sheffield Labour Councillor from 1984 to 2010. As lead spokesperson on anti-apartheid issues, he steered through the Council policies on boycotting South African goods and barring artists who had performed in South Africa from Sheffield City Hall. He helped set up Local Authorities Against Apartheid (LAAA) and chaired its National Steering Committee from 1984 to 1994.
In this clip Mike Pye explains how Sheffield City Council used a section of the Local Government Act that called on local authorities to foster good race relations as legal justification for not awarding a contract to Shell.
David Haslam is a Methodist minister who attended the seminal Fourth Assembly of the World Council of Churches held in Sweden in 1968. He was one of the founders of End Loans to Southern Africa (ELTSA) in 1974 and later helped set up the EMBARGO campaign against oil shipments to South Africa. In the early 1970s he served on the National Executive Committee of the Anti-Apartheid Movement.
In this clip David Haslam describes some of the campaign actions he and his parishioners carried out.
Talal Karim came to Britain from Bangladesh in 1971 and supported anti-apartheid campaigns as a student at Warwick University. He later became a Labour councillor in the London Borough of Islington and a member of its Race Equality Committee. He represented Islington Council on Local Authorities Against Apartheid (LAAA) and was one of the main movers behind the Council’s Declaration on Southern Africa, and support for the African National Congress (ANC) and South West Africa People’s Organisation (SWAPO).
In this clip Talal Karim remembers how he checked that there were no South African products on sale in the Council’s staff canteen.
David Granville joined the Anti-Apartheid Movement in London in the early 1980s and later moved to Sheffield, where he was active in Sheffield AA Group. He was the Co-ordinator of Sheffield Southern Africa Resource Centre, set up in 1988 to provide educational resources on Southern Africa to schools and community organisations.
In this clip David Granville explains how most British institutions and companies had links with apartheid South Africa and how the AAM selected key supermarkets and banks on which to campaign.