ANC women picket South Africa House to demand freedom for all women political prisoners on the eve of International Women's Day, 7 March 1979. They also called for the release of Solomon Mahlangu. In the photo are former political prisoner Dulcie September and ANC women members Ramnie Dinat and Teresa Nannan.
In March 1989 the AAM held a month of anti-apartheid action on women. Women all over Britain held meetings, exhibitions and demonstrations outside supermarkets selling South African and Namibian products. The month had three themes: the collection of material aid for South African and Namibian women, freedom for women prisoners and the boycott of South African and Namibian products.
Thousands of people marched through central London to protest against British arms sales to South Africa on 17 March 1963. The main speaker at a rally in Trafalgar Square 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.
This young anti-apartheid supporter was asking cricket fans to support an arms embargo against South Africa outside the St Helen’s cricket ground in Swansea in August 1965. Inside the ground the all-white South African cricket team was playing Glamorgan.
The AAM celebrated its fifteenth anniversary with a ‘Freedom Convention’ at Camden Lock, London on 30 June 1974. Stalls displayed information about South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Portugal’s African colonies. A petition for the release of South African prisoners with 30,000 signatures was presented to Nigeria’s UN Ambassador Edwin Ogbu, Chair of the UN Special Committee Against Apartheid.
Southampton AA Group supporters delivered a giant Barclays cheque to the local Barclays branch on 4 April 1979. The cheque was made payable ‘for bribery and corruption by the South African Government’ and signed ‘Connie Muldergate’. South African Information Minister Connie Mulder was forced to resign because he established a government slush fund to promote South Africa’s image overseas.
Programme for the AAM conference for trade unionists held on 1 March 1986. The conference focused on disinvestment and trade sanctions. It was attended by around 450 delegates representing 37 trade unions and 29 trades councils.
This leaflet tells the story of four railway workers who were sentenced to hang after a strike by employees of the South African Transport Service in 1987. They were alleged to have taken part in the killing of four non-strikers. The leaflet was produced by the Joint Campaign against the Repression of Trade Unionists with support from leading British trade unions.
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.
This is a complete transcript of an interview carried out as part of the Forward to Freedom AAM history project in 2013.
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.
Anna Kruthoffer (now Anna Murray) first became aware of the Anti-Apartheid Movement when she was a student in the late 1980s. She became an activist in her local AA group in Hackney when she moved to London. She was the secretary of Hackney AA Group and the London AA Committee, which co-ordinated the work of London anti-apartheid groups. In April 1994, she worked in the ANC’s Johannesburg regional office in the run-up to South Africa’s first democratic election.
In this clip Anna describes how she attended Shell’s annual general meeting to protest about the company’s involvement in Southern Africa.
Brian Filling became involved in anti-apartheid campaigning as a student at Glasgow University in the late 1960s. He was a founder of the Scottish AAM Committee in 1976 and served as its Chair from 1976 to 1994, when he became Chair of ACTSA Scotland. He was a member of the Executive Committee of Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA) from 1994 to 2011 and is now Honorary Consul for South Africa in Scotland. He was awarded the National Order of Companions of O R Tambo, the highest award made to non-South Africans, by the Republic of South Africa in 2012.
In this clip Brian Filling describes how Nelson Mandela visited Glasgow in 1993 to meet representatives from the nine British cities who had given him the freedom of their cities.
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 explains why he became an anti-apartheid activist and describes his meeting with Nelson Mandela in 1993.
Amin Mawani came to London from Kenya in 1975, where he met Susi, who grew up in Heidelberg, Germany. They were both founder members of Ealing Anti-Apartheid Group in West London in the mid-1980s and Amin became the group’s first Secretary. In 1988 he was elected to the AAM’s National Executive Committee and Susi took over as Secretary. Ealing AA group campaigned for a boycott of South African goods and organised numerous concerts and social events to raise funds for the AAM.
In this clip Amin Mawani remembers the low points of the struggle when the Sharpeville Six and others were sentenced to hang.
The South African Springbok rugby team played Oxford University in the first game of their 1969/70 tour of Britain and Ireland on 5 November. The game was moved from Oxford to Twickenham after the police found out about plans to disrupt the game. This photograph shows Peter Hain being carried out of the ground. Throughout the game demonstrators taunted the players with Nazi salutes and chanted ‘Sieg Heil’.
AAM demonstrators marched through central London on 23 March 1975 to call on the Labour government to stop all military collaboration with South Africa. The government ended the Simonstown Agreement, but continued to supply spare parts and hold joint training exercises with the South African navy. In the photograph is Nigeria’s UN Ambassador Edwin Ogbu, Chair of the UN Special Committee Against Apartheid.
Actor Julie Christie (centre) with Jane Goldsmith of the World University Service and Gerry Gillman, General Secretary of the clerical workers union CPSA, outside the annual general meeting of Barclays Bank in April 1981. They were members of a ‘shadow board’ set up in January 1981 under the chairmanship of Oxford philosopher Michael Dummett to monitor the bank’s activities in Southern Africa. Barclays finally pulled out of South Africa in 1986.
Local councillors handed in a petition for sanctions to the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street on 18 March 1985. The petition was supported by 42 councils. Local authorities all over Britain organised exhibitions and film shows and supported local AA group activity during a week of action against apartheid, 18–22 March. Left to right: Councillors Mike Pye (Sheffield), Phil Turner, Phyllis Smith (Sheffield), Paul Boateng (GLC) and Hugh Bayley (Camden).
Benjamin Moloise was sentenced to death on a trumped up charge of murdering a South African security policeman in June 1983. He was hanged on 18 October 1985 in spite of an international campaign for his release. Commonwealth leaders and the governments of the USA, France and Germany all called for clemency. The AAM held a 24-hour vigil outside South Africa House the day before his execution.