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Political prisoners

po003. Release South African political prisoners

Poster calling for the release of South African political prisoners, one of three campaign themes of the AAM’s Anti-Apartheid Month in November 1963. The other themes were arms sales to South Africa and protection for refugees.

 
wom12. Caroline Motsoaledi

Caroline Motsoaledi was the wife of Andrew Motsoaledi, one of the accused in the Rivonia trial. She was held in detention and released without charge. This leaflet highlighted the situation of South African women who were arrested for questioning about their husband’s activities. Children were often left alone and uncared for when their parents were arrested.

 
60s15. ‘Free the Prisoners’

Leaflet calling for the release of South African political prisoners distributed during the AAM’s  November 1963 Anti-Apartheid Month.

 
tsh01. Free all Namibian & South African political prisoners

This T-shirt was produced in several colours, including turquoise and deep pink.

 
pri01. Declaration calling for the release of South African political prisoners

This Declaration was signed by 160 world figures prominent in the arts, churches, academia, trade unions and politics. It called for the release of South African political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela and others arrested at Rivonia and PAC leader Robert Sobukwe. It was launched by the World Campaign for the Release of South African Political Prisoners, set up in response to a UN General Assembly resolution passed in October 1963.

 
pri40. ‘Freedom for Robert Sobukwe’

Pan-Africanist Congress President Robert Sobukwe was detained after the Sharpeville massacre and sentenced to three years imprisonment. At the end of his sentence in May 1963 he was detained and held on Robben Island for a further six years. This leaflet publicises a meeting in the early 1960s calling for his release. The AAM also asked the International Commission of Jurists and the Red Cross to protest against his continued detention.

 
pri13. ‘Jailed for Life’

It was widely expected that Nelson Mandela and his co-accused in the Rivonia trial would be condemned to death. The campaign for their release was launched immediately after they were sentenced to life imprisonment in June 1964. This leaflet asked AAM supporters to write to the South African Ambassador and British Prime Minister Sir Alec Douglas-Home protesting against the sentence. 

 
stu12. ‘Free the Political Prisoners!’

London students demonstrated in support of Nelson Mandela and other South African political prisoners in February 1964. This leaflet publicised a march preceding a dramatised presentation of prisoners’ lives organised by the World Campaign for the Release of South African Political Prisoners in Central Hall, Westminster.

 
pri03. Vigil for political prisoners

The AAM organised a weekly vigil opposite the South African Embassy in the winter of 1963/64 during the trial of Nelson Mandela and his co-accused. Different groups – writers, actors, church people, politicians – took part each week. The campaign was run under the auspices of the World Campaign for the Release of South African Political Prisoners, set up in response to a UN General Assembly resolution passed in October 1963.

 
pri04. Vigil for political prisoners

The AAM organised a weekly vigil opposite the South African Embassy in the winter of 1963/64 during the trial of Nelson Mandela and his co-accused. Different groups – writers, actors, church people, politicians – took part each week. The campaign was run under the auspices of the World Campaign for the Release of South African Political Prisoners, set up in response to a UN General Assembly resolution passed in October 1963.

 
pri07. World Campaign, April 1964

Five issues of this broadsheet were published by the World Campaign for the Release of South African Political Prisoners in 1964. The broadsheet reported on the world campaign to save the lives of Nelson Mandela and his co-accused in the Rivonia trial. The campaign played a big part in preventing the death sentence being passed on the accused.

 
pri02. ‘Suicide Under Torture is Murder’

This leaflet highlighted the death of Babla Saloojee, who was detained under the 90-day law, giving the South African police powers to hold political detainees for 90 days without trial. It quoted first-hand accounts of torture at the hands of the security police. The leaflet called for an international campaign for the release of all South African political prisoners.

 
pri08. World Campaign, May 1964

Five issues of this broadsheet were published by the World Campaign for the Release of South African Political Prisoners in 1964. The broadsheet reported on the world campaign to save the lives of Nelson Mandela and his co-accused in the Rivonia trial. The campaign played a big part in preventing the death sentence being passed on the accused.

 
pri12. ‘Torture in South Africa’

In the 1960s the AAM used theatre to alert the British public to the increasing use of torture in South Africa. Actors like the National Theatre’s Robert Lang took part in this dramatised presentation of what it was like to be a political prisoner. Students from the University of London’s Society Against Racial Discrimination held a torchlight march to the event.

 
pri06. Petition for the release of South African political prisoners

This petition was signed by nearly 200,000 people all over the world during the trial of Nelson Mandela and his co-accused in 1964. It was launched by the World Campaign for the Release of South African Political Prisoners, set up in response to a UN General Assembly resolution passed in October 1963. The campaign played a big part in preventing the death sentence being passed on the accused.

 
pri09. World Campaign, June 1964

Five issues of this broadsheet were published by the World Campaign for the Release of South African Political Prisoners in 1964. The broadsheet reported on the world campaign to save the lives of Nelson Mandela and his co-accused in the Rivonia trial. The campaign played a big part in preventing the death sentence being passed on the accused.

 
pri10. World Campaign, September 1964

Five issues of this broadsheet were published by the World Campaign for the Release of South African Political Prisoners in 1964. The broadsheet reported on the world campaign to save the lives of Nelson Mandela and his co-accused in the Rivonia trial. The campaign played a big part in preventing the death sentence being passed on the accused.

 
pri14. November campaign, 1964

In November 1964 the AAM launched a campaign to focus attention on the torture of political prisoners. The campaign began with a poster parade around Trafalgar Square on 31 October, followed by a vigil every Saturday during the month. It culminated in a meeting in Central Hall, Westminster on 30 November.

 
pri11. World Campaign, November 1964

Five issues of this broadsheet were published by the World Campaign for the Release of South African Political Prisoners in 1964. The broadsheet reported on the world campaign to save the lives of Nelson Mandela and his co-accused in the Rivonia trial. The campaign played a big part in preventing the death sentence being passed on the accused.

 
pri15. Kitson Committee march

Trade unionists at Ruskin College, Oxford organised a march from Oxford to London in 1969 as part of their campaign for the release of former Ruskin student David Kitson. Kitson was sentenced to 20 years gaol in 1964 for organising sabotage in South Africa.

 
 
 
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