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Death sentences

wom14. Stop Apartheid Executions

The Sharpeville Six were sentenced to death in December 1985 because they were present at a protest where black collaborators were killed. One of the six was a woman, Theresa Ramashamola. After huge international protests the death sentences were commuted in July 1988.

 
int34a1. Sir Geoffrey Bindman interview clip1

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.

 
pic7505. Zimbabwe: UDI tenth anniversary

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.

 
int34t. Sir Geoffrey Bindman transcript

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.

 
Pic6306. ‘Save Sisulu and Mandela’

Yusuf Dadoo and Joe Slovo on the march that launched the AAM’s ‘Anti-Apartheid Month’ on 3 November 1963 in response to increasing repression in South Africa and the arrest of Nelson Mandela and his comrades in July.

 
pic7802. Trade union picket for Solomon Mahlangu

Solomon Mahlangu was sentenced to death on 2 March 1978 after being present at an incident in Johannesburg during which two white bystanders were killed. The AAM organised weekly demonstrations outside South Africa House calling for his release. Thousands signed a petition asking the British government to intervene. This picket was held on 2 August 1978. In the photograph are Bob Wright, Assistant General Secretary of AUEW (Engineering), Jim Slater, General Secretary of the National Union of Seamen (NUS) and members of the NUS Executive.

 
pic7803. Fast for Solomon Mahlangu

Forty former South African political prisoners held a 24-hour fast in support of Solomon Mahlangu on the steps of St Martin’s in the Fields, Trafalgar Square in August 1978. They collected signatures to a petition asking Prime Minister James Callaghan to intervene with the South African government. Mahlangu was sentenced to death on 2 March 1978 for being present at an incident in Johannesburg during which two white bystanders were killed.

 
7902. Vigil for Solomon Mahlangu, 1979

Hundreds of people kept an all-night vigil at South Africa House in London before the execution of Solomon Mahlangu on 6 April 1979. In Scotland AAM supporters picketed the South African consulate in Glasgow. Solomon Mahlangu was hanged in spite of a huge international campaign. The UN Security Council and the governments of the UK and all the other major Western European countries appealed to the South African government for clemency. US President Jimmy Carter also intervened.

 
pic8106. ‘Stop the Death Sentences’

Three young ANC members, Johannes Shabangu, Anthony Tsotsobe and David Moise, were sentenced to death in Pretoria on 19 August 1981. They were charged with taking part in attack on the SASOL oil-from-coal power station and a Johannesburg police station. All three were school students who left South Africa to join Umkhonto we Sizwe after the Soweto uprising in 1976. After an international campaign the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment on 7 June 1983.

 
pic8308. Wreaths for the Moroka Three

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.

 
pic8404. Vigil for Benjamin Moloise

Benjamin Moloise was sentenced to death in June 1983 on a framed charge of killing a South African security policeman. This vigil outside the South African Embassy, calling for his release, was held on 6 April 1984, the fifth anniversary of the execution of Solomon Mahlangu. In spite of an international campaign for clemency, Benjamin Moloise was hanged on 18 October 1985.

 
pic8605. Vigil for the Sharpeville Six

SATIS (Southern Africa the Imprisoned Society) held a vigil for the Sharpeville Six on the steps of St Martin’s in the Fields in April 1986. The Six, five men and one woman, were sentenced to death in December 1985 for taking part in a demonstration at which a black deputy mayor was killed. They were reprieved in July 1988 after spending two and a half years on death row.

 
pic8724. ‘Stop Apartheid Executions’, 5 August 1987

South African Youth Congress representatives Joe Nkuna and Faye Reagon launched a campaign to save the lives of 32 people sentenced to death in South Africa for their anti-apartheid activities. They planned to present over 32,000 signatures – 1,000 for each prisoner – to the British, West German and US embassies in South Africa to internationalise the campaign. In London 43 MPs signed an early day motion backing the initiative. Southern Africa the Imprisoned Society (SATIS) and the AAM organised a meeting chaired by Betty Heathfield of Women Against Pit Closures.

 
pic8803. ‘Stop Repression of Trade Unionists’

The apartheid government escalated its repression of trade unionists in 1988 – four trade union leaders were sentenced to death and hundreds were detained. In response the AAM and SATIS (Southern Africa the Imprisoned Society) launched a campaign to defend trade unionists in South Africa and Namibia. It was launched at a demonstration outside the South African Embassy on 1 February 1988 on the day the trial of Moses Mayekiso, General Secretary of the National Union of Metalworkers (NUMSA) reopened in Johannesburg.

 
pic8804. Artists Against Apartheid call for the release of the Sharpeville Six

Artists Against Apartheid called for the release of the Sharpeville Six, 16 March 1988. In the photograph with Trevor Huddleston are (left to right) Jerry Dammers, Pat and Greg Kane from the pop duo Hue and Cry, and Suggs from the ska band Madness. The Sharpeville Six were sentenced to death in December 1985 because they were present at a protest where black collaborators were killed. In December 1987 the South African Appeal Court rejected their appeal for clemency. After a big international campaign their sentence was commuted in July 1988.

 
pic8805. Save the Sharpeville Six

The Sharpeville Six were sentenced to death in December 1985 because they were present at a protest where black collaborators were killed. In December 1987 the South African Appeal Court rejected their appeal for clemency. Southern Africa the Imprisoned Society (SATIS) responded with a big campaign of letters and postcards asking the British government to intervene. It held weekly demonstrations outside the South African Embassy. In the photograph are leading British trade unionists at the entrance to 10 Downing Street. After a huge international campaign the death sentence was commuted in July 1988.

 
pic8806. Save the Sharpeville Six

Women from the ANC Women’s Section and AAM Women’s Committee demonstrated in support of Theresa Ramashamola to mark 8 March, International Women’s Day. Theresa was one of the Sharpeville Six, who were sentenced to death in December 1985 because they were present at a protest where black collaborators were killed. In December 1987 the South African Appeal Court rejected their appeal for clemency. Southern Africa the Imprisoned Society (SATIS) responded with a campaign of letters and postcards asking the British government to intervene. After huge international protests the death sentence was commuted in July 1988.

 
pic8810. Save the Sharpeville Six

Young AAM supporters at a vigil for the Sharpeville Six in front of Nottingham Town Hall on 13 April 1998.

 
pic8811. Pensioners call for the release of the Sharpeville Six

Supporters of Greater London Pensioners call for the release of the Sharpeville Six outside South Africa House in June 1988. The Six were condemned to hang because they were present at a protest where black collaborators were killed. After a big international campaign their sentence was commuted in July 1988.

 
pic8918. ‘Save the Upington 14’

The Upington 14 were sentenced to death on 26 May 1989 because they were present at a demonstration during which a black policeman was killed. They included a 60-year old woman, Evelyn de Bruin. Anti-apartheid supporters picketed the South African Embassy in London calling for clemency for the Upington 14. After an international campaign for their release, the sentence was overturned in May 1991.

 
 
 
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