AA News October 1988

This issue led on South Africa’s failure to implement its commitment to withdraw its armed forces from Angola. It exposed secret talks that would safeguard South Africa’s nuclear capacity. It announced plans for the AAM’s ‘Boycott Apartheid ‘89’ campaign and reported on the award of the TUC’s Congress gold badge to Nelson Mandela. In a special report from the Cape, AA News revealed how the apartheid authorities were evicting residents from informal settlements and pulling down their homes. AA News again called for action to save the lives of 60 political prisoners awaiting execution on death row.

AA News November 1988

Elections for segregated local councils in South Africa’s townships were a propaganda fraud, alleged this issue of AA News. In its editorial, the newspaper again focused on the implementation of UN resolution 435 on Namibia and on the need for pressure on the apartheid government to stop the hanging of political prisoners. It announced the formation of a liaison group to coordinate action by Western European anti-apartheid groups to press for European Economic Community sanctions against South Africa. The newspaper exposed the detention and torture of children in South Africa and Namibia and the increase in the number of women detainees.

AA News December 1988–January 1989

AA News headlined SWAPO’s call for mass resistance inside Namibia to force South Africa to honour its commitments in independence talks. Abdul Minty accused Israel, Chile and Taiwan of breaking the UN arms embargo against South Africa. AA News showed how South African companies were planning to increase coal exports to Britain. In an interview, the ANC’s representative in Britain, Mendi Msimang, warned against attempts to separate Nelson Mandela from the liberation struggle. The newspaper highlighted the role of church leaders inside South Africa in resistance to apartheid and analysed the devastating effect that disinvestment by British and US companies was having on the South African economy.

AA News February 1989

AA News launched the AAM’s ‘Boycott Apartheid 89’ campaign, calling for a new drive for sanctions against South Africa and a people’s boycott of all apartheid goods. The campaign would target Shell, gold and coal imports and tourism. The newspaper again warned about South Africa’s attempts to undermine Namibian independence and called for support for the AAM’s ‘Free Namibia Now’ lobby of the British parliament on 7 December. It highlighted the emergence of a radical Muslim grouping aligned with the mass democratic movement in South Africa. The newspaper publicised the March Month of Action on Women organised by the AAM Women’s Committee.

AA News March 1989

The March issue led on the role of Albertina Sisulu, banned co-president of the United Democratic Front, in the anti-apartheid struggle. It reported on the hunger strike by South African detainees and the calls by organisations in Britain for their release. It exposed how the British Government was still promoting trade with South Africa, in defiance of Commonwealth moves to step up sanctions. In an interview, Barbara Switzer, Assistant General Secretary of the MSF trade union, talked about the union’s support for the AAM. A centre spread displayed pictures of women in struggle in South Africa and Namibia and of solidarity action by British women.

AA News April 1989

The April issue focused on the international effort to ensure that elections scheduled for November 1989 in Namibia were free and fair. It publicised the launch of a SWAPO Election Appeal sponsored by the leaders of all the main British political parties, apart from the Conservatives. It again highlighted the ongoing hunger strike by South African political detainees and the failure of the Thatcher Government to bring pressure on the apartheid regime. A feature by the ANC’s Nkosazana Zuma asked for support for the newly established Health and Refugee Trust of South Africa (HEART). SANROC Chair Sam Ramsamy wrote about the ongoing campaign for a total sporting boycott of South Africa.

AA News May 1989

SWAPO blamed British Prime Minister Thatcher, on a visit to Windhoek, for an intervention with the UN Special Representative which led to a breakdown of the ceasefire in Namibia. AA News warned against lifting the European Economy Community’s nuclear sanctions against South Africa. It reported on a Europe-wide conference in Rome planned to campaign for an EEC boycott of South African coal and on the AAM’s plans to contact every retail outlet in Britain to identify those which boycotted apartheid products. This issue featured new publications from the British Defence and Aid Fund’s Education Group promoting teaching about Southern Africa in schools.

AA News June 1989

The June issue accused the British media of ignoring South Africa’s defiance of the UN plan to bring peace and democracy to Namibia. It reported that 70 political prisoners were now held on death row in South Africa. Shell’s annual general meeting was disrupted by anti-apartheid protesters and local AA groups picketed Shell garages all over Britain in May. The newspaper reported that 85 per cent of Tesco stores had been picketed by anti-apartheid supporters at the end of April. It welcomed the acquittal of the ‘Alex Five’, community activists in Alexandra Township, accused of treason for organising a rent boycott. In a feature article, Mzala accused Prime Minister Thatcher’s of supporting white supremacy on her recent visit to Southern Africa.