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Free Mandela

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.

 
60s09. Message from Nelson Mandela

In 1961 Nelson Mandela went into hiding and then left South Africa secretly to meet leaders of independent African countries. He returned to South Africa in July 1962. Shortly afterwards he was arrested and charged with incitement to strike. The Anti-Apartheid Movement organised protests and messages of support. In this telegram he thanks the AAM and says his message is intended as ‘a very firm, warm and hearty handshake from us’.

 
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.

 
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.

 
pic6401. ‘Save These Lives’, 1964

After Nelson Mandela and seven of his co-accused were convicted of sabotage on 11 June 1964 there was a real danger that the trial judge would impose the death sentence. Supporters in London kept up a three-day vigil opposite South Africa House and 50 MPs marched from the House of Commons to present a petition to the South African ambassador. The vigil culminated in a rally in Trafalgar Square on 14 June. When the sentence of life imprisonment was announced on 12 June it was seen as a victory for the international campaign to save the lives of the eight men.

 
po144. ‘Save These Lives’ poster

The World Campaign for the Release of South African Political Prisoners was set up by the AAM in response to a UN General Assembly resolution passed on 11 October 1963 calling for the charges in the Rivonia trial to be dropped and the release of all South African political prisoners. The campaign circulated an international declaration calling for the release of Nelson Mandela and his co-accused. It was largely because of the international campaign that the death sentence was not imposed. This poster was part of the campaign.

 
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.

 
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.

 
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.

 
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.

 
pri05. ‘Save These Lives’ stickers

Stickers produced as part of the AAM’s campaign to mobilise public opinion against the imposition of the death penalty in the trial of Nelson Mandela and his co-accused. The campaign played a big part in saving the lives of Mandela and the other Congress leaders.

 
pic6402. Students march for Rivonia trialists

Sussex University students marched from Brighton to London on 12 and 13 June 1964, on the eve of the sentencing of Nelson Mandela and his co-accused. The march was organised by Thabo Mbeki, whose father Govan Mbeki was one of the accused.

 
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.

 
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.

 
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.

 
vid003. Abdul Minty

Abdul Minty was Honorary Secretary of the Anti-Apartheid Movement from 1962 to 1994. He recalls the fear among ANC leaders in 1963-4 that Nelson Mandela and his comrades would be hanged.

This is a clip from an interview for the film series ‘Have You Heard from Johannesburg?’, covering the 50-year history of the global anti-apartheid movement. The series is a Clarity Films production, produced and directed by Connie Field. See http://www.clarityfilms.org/haveyouheardfromjohannesburg

 
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. 

 
po187. ‘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 poster was part of the publicity for the campaign. The AAM asked people to write to the South African Ambassador and British Prime Sir Alec Douglas-Home protesting against the life sentences.

 
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.

 
 
 
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