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pic6007. Sharpeville massacre protest, 27 March 1960

James Callaghan, Labour spokesperson on Colonial Affairs, spoke at a 20,000-strong rally in Trafalgar Square on 27 March 1960 to protest against the Sharpeville shootings. The rally was organised by the Labour Party. Also on the platform were African National Congress leader, Tennyson Makiwane, Robert Willis from the TUC General Council and Labour MPs Barbara Castle, Anthony Greenwood and Jim Griffiths. In the days following the massacre crowds gathered spontaneously outside South Africa House.

pic6904. Springboks v Oxford University

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’.

pic7501. ‘End Labour Government’s Collaboration’

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.

pic7904. Camden Anti-Apartheid Group Soweto walk

From 1978 anti-apartheid local groups held sponsored walks on the anniversary of the Soweto uprising to raise funds for the ANC’s Solomon Mahlangu Freedom School in Tanzania. In the photograph are Det Glynn of Camden AA Group and AAM staff member Chris Child getting ready for a sponsored walk in Camden, London in June 1979.


pic7905. Zimbabwe demonstration, 10 September 1979

Demonstrators marched from Lancaster House to Central Hall, Westminster, on 10 September 1979, the opening day of talks about a settlement on Zimbabwe. They were supporting the settlement proposals put forward by the Zimbabwe Patriotic Front for democratic elections and the release of all political prisoners. After lengthy negotiations, elections were held in February 1980. They were won by the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front under the leadership of Robert Mugabe.

pic8104. Barclays Bank Annual General Meeting

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.

Pic8203. ‘Southern Africa: the Time to Choose’ demonstration

The AAM’s ‘Southern Africa: the Time to Choose’ conference culminated in a 15,000-strong march and rally on 14 March 1982. The rally was the biggest anti-apartheid demonstration since Sharpeville in 1960. Speakers included ANC Secretary General Alfred Nzo, representatives of the Labour and Liberal Parties and the TUC, asylum seekers campaigner Anwar Ditta and the only black member of the British Sports Council, Paul Stephenson. On the morning of the demonstration a bomb blast destroyed part of the ANC’s London office.

pic8219. Lesotho vigil

In December 1982 South Africa forces crossed the border into Lesotho and massacred 42 South African refugees and Lesotho nationals. This was part of a pattern of South African armed raids and destabilisation of the frontline states throughout the 1980s. The photograph shows anti-apartheid supporters holding a torchlight vigil at South Africa House immediately after the raid.

pic8503. Local authorities demand sanctions

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).

pic8512. Vigil for Benjamin Moloise

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.

ar03. Annual Report, October 1964

Report of the AAM’s activities covering the period September 1963 to October 1964.

pic9006. Rally in Trafalgar Square

Over 20,000 demonstrators packed Trafalgar Square on 25 March 1990 in the first big anti-apartheid demonstration in Britain after the release of Nelson Mandela. Left to right: Abdul Minty, Rivonia trialist Andrew Mlangeni, AAM Chair Bob Hughes and AAM President Trevor Huddleston.

gov10. Letter from Abdul Minty to Ted Rowlands

Letter following up a meeting between an AAM delegation and Foreign Office Minister Ted Rowlands to discuss the AAM’s memorandum of 19 April 1976 on Britain’s arms embargo. The letter detailed loopholes in the arms embargo and exposed the fact that South Africa had access to the NATO Codification System.

apd04. Cape Town railway station

Segregated facilities at Cape Town railway station in the 1950s.

tsh04. ‘They are meeting again at home’
bdg04. AAM women’s badge

The AAM Women’s Committee produced this badge soon after its formation in the summer of 1980. 

msc04. Frontline states wrapping paper

This design with the legend ‘Isolate Apartheid Support the Frontline States’ was printed as wrapping paper, as well as being used on mugs and T-shirts.

int29t. David Hillman transcript

David Hillman became an Anti-Apartheid Movement activist in 1985, joining Hammersmith and Fulham AA Group.  He was a member of the London Anti-Apartheid Committee and the AAM Boycott Committee, where he led activities on the Boycott Shell campaign across London. After 1994, he served for over 10 years as a member of the National Executive Committee of Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA).

This is a complete transcript of an interview carried out as part of the ‘Forward to Freedom’ AAM history project in 2013.

Vid013. Clapham Common 1986


Freedom Beat - Artists Against Apartheid, Clapham Common music festival, 1986. Featuring, amongst others, the Style Council, Gil Scott Heron, Billy Bragg, Sade, Maxi Priest, Hugh Masekela, Big Audio Dynamite, Elvis Costello, All Star Band (featuring Jerry Dammers), and Peter Gabriel.

int31t. Jerry Dammers transcript

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.

This is a complete transcript of an interview carried out as part of the Forward to Freedom AAM history project in 2013.

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