pic8110. Southampton boycott

Southampton anti-apartheid supporters asked shoppers to boycott South African goods outside Safeways on 25 April 1981. The action was part of a national consumer boycott day, with action at 40 shopping centres throughout the country. Activists also collected signatures for a national sanctions petition launched on 21 March as part of the AAM’s ‘Isolate Apartheid South Africa – Sanctions Now!’ campaign. Seventy thousand people signed the petition.

80s12. Apartheid Gold

Gold was apartheid South Africa’s biggest export earner. This pamphlet was published as part of an international campaign to persuade governments to freeze the import of apartheid gold. It called for a boycott of Krugerrands and for support for the frontline states in stopping the recruitment of cheap labour for the South African mines.

boy44. Boycott sticker

Sticker displayed in shops that agreed not to stock South African goods.

pic8403. ‘Southern Africa – The Time to Act’

‘Southern Africa – The Time to Act’ was the theme of a month of action against apartheid launched by the AAM in March 1984. The campaign was launched at a press conference in London by UN Special Committee Against Apartheid member Ambassador Sahnoun. It was taken up by anti-apartheid campaigners all over Britain. In the photograph supporters of West Glamorgan AA Group ask shoppers at a Tesco store in Swansea to boycott South African goods.

pic8420. ‘Danger! Contaminated with apartheid’

To mark its 25th anniversary on 26 June 1984, the AAM relaunched the campaign for a boycott of South African goods at a press conference at the House of Commons. It produced a new ‘boycott kit’ of stickers and leaflets asking shoppers to support the boycott, distributed by supporters all over Britain.

pic8428. Dunnes shopworkers at County Hall, London

In 1984 a Dunnes supermarket shopworker in Dublin, Mary Manning, was sacked for refusing to check out Outspan oranges from South Africa. Eleven of her colleagues went on strike to demand her reinstatement. In the photograph are Dunnes strikers Cathryn O’Reilly and Mary Manning with GLC members Ken Livingstone and Valerie Wise.

po138. Strange Fruit: Don’t Buy the Fruit of Apartheid

Poster connecting the purchase of South African fruit with lynchings in the American south by quoting the Billie Holliday song ‘Southern trees bear a strange fruit’.

boy40. National Boycott Conference

The AAM held a conference in February 1985 to mobilise support for a consumer boycott month of action in March. The conference included workshops on local authority and trade union action, as well as on campaigning in the civil service and cooperative movement. During March campaigners distributed around three-quarters of a million leaflets in shopping centres  and door to door. The following year a Harris Poll found that 27% of people in Britain said they boycotted South African products.