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pic6502. Launching an academic boycott of South Africa

Philosophers Isaiah Berlin and A J Ayer were among the supporters of an academic boycott of South Africa launched in 1965. The boycott pledge was signed by 509 British academics. Left to right: Professor K W Wedderburn from the London School of Economics, AAM President David Ennals MP, and novelists Angus Wilson and Iris Murdoch at the launch of the boycott in the House of Commons.

pic8217. Namibia Week of Action

Anti-apartheid supporters outside the London offices of Blue Star Port Line during the Week of Action on Namibia organised by the AAM and the Namibia Support Committee, 27 October to 3 November 1982. The company was running a shipping service to Walvis Bay in defiance of UN rulings. Other British companies operating in Namibia were targeted during the week. A former worker at RTZ’s Rossing uranium mine, Arthur Pickering, and a representative of SWAPO’s Women’s Council, Frieda Williams, spoke at 50 meetings all over Britain.

arm11. Arms sales postcard

One of the first decisions of the Conservative government elected in June 1970 was to resume arms sales to South Africa. The AAM launched an international campaign in defence of the arms embargo. Thousands of this postcard addressed to Prime Minister Edward Health were distributed to AAM members, and to trade unions and other organisations.

pic8419. AAM 25th Anniversary Convention

The AAM held a National  Convention, 23–24 June 1984, to mark its 25th anniversary and draw up a new action programme. Participants included the Tanzanian Foreign Minister and future President Benjamin Mkapa, the Chair of the UN Special Committee Against Apartheid, Ambassador Joseph Garba and David Kitson, who had just arrived in London after his release from Pretoria Prison. In the picture are E S Reddy, Secretary of the UN Committee Against Apartheid, Andimba Toivo ja Toivo of SWAPO and Labour Party Leader Neil Kinnock.

bom09. Rally to launch the March Month of Boycott

This leaflet advertised the march and rally on 28 February 1960 that launched the March Month of Boycott in 1960. Six thousand people marched from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square. The speakers included Labour Leader Hugh Gaitskell, Liberal MP Jeremy Thorpe, Conservative Lord Altrincham, ANC leader Tennyson Makiwane and Rita Smythe from the Co-operative Women’s Guild. The rally was chaired by Trevor Huddleston.

pic9204. Protest against the Boipatong massacre, June 1992

AAM supporters marched up Whitehall to the South African Embassy to protest against the killing of around 40 township residents at Boipatong on 26 June 1992. They asked the British government to support international monitoring of the violence in South Africa. Among those carrying the banner (left to right) are Peter Hain MP, Billy Nair, Patsy Pillay, Bob Hughes MP, Archbishop Trevor Huddleston and Ken Campbell, General Secretary of the Fire Brigades Union. After the march, Walter Sisulu and Trevor Huddleston led a vigil outside the South African Embassy in memory of those who died.

zim07. Zimbabwe-Rhodesia – Britain’s Vietnam?

Leaflet advertising a march organised by the Zimbabwe Solidarity Action Committee on 12 January 1969. Demonstrators, mostly students and young people, tried to occupy Rhodesia House but were driven back by mounted police. Marchers then moved on to South Africa House, where only one policeman was stationed at the side entrance, and smashed the windows looking onto Trafalgar Square. Before the march, a group of writers had already infiltrated Rhodesia House and two climbers had scaled its flagpole to replace the flag of the illegal regime with the Union Jack.

msc15. ‘South Africa Freedom Now!’ mug

After the release of Nelson Mandela in February 1990, the AAM campaigned for a democratic South African constitution under the slogan ‘South Africa Freedom Now!’. This mug was produced for the campaign.

po059. ‘Free Nelson Mandela’, 1980

Poster advertising a rally on South Africa Freedom Day, 26 June 1980, to mark the 25th anniversary of the Freedom Charter. The rally was organised by an umbrella group, the South Africa Freedom Day Committee, and the main speaker was ANC Secretary-General Alfred Nzo. The ANC declared 1980 the ‘Year of the Charter’ and the AAM distributed thousands of copies of the Freedom Charter during the year.

tsh15. Isolate Apartheid! Support the Frontline States

This was AA Enterprises’ best-selling T-shirt. The same design was used on a tea towel, wrapping paper and mug. 

pic6801 ‘Oppose Apartheid, Support African Freedom Fighters’

On the march to an AAM rally in Trafalgar Square, 23 June 1968. The rally took place after ANC/ZAPU guerilla units had infiltrated Rhodesia in what became known as the Wankie and Sipolilo campaigns. In his speech, Oliver Tambo asked people in Britain to support the South African freedom fighters. The rally was chaired by Liberal MP David Steel and the other speakers were British Council of Churches representative Paul Oestreicher, trade union leader Jack Jones, Labour MPs Joan Lestor and Andrew Faulds and Young Liberal George Kiloh. The march was organised by an ad hoc youth and students committee.

pic8307. Namibia Week of Action, 1983

Demonstrators marched to London’s Jubilee Gardens to protest against British companies’ support for South Africa’s illegal occupation of Namibia, as part of a Week of Action on Namibia, 27 October–3 November 1983. The march served ‘summonses’ at the offices of companies that collaborated with South Africa’s illegal rule in Namibia. The Week of Action featured a speaking tour by SWAPO representative Jacob Hannai and a special leaflet on Barclays and Namibia. It was organised by the AAM and the Namibia Support Committee.

arm12. ‘Stop the Wasp’

In 1971 the Conservative government agreed to sell seven Westland Wasp helicopters to South Africa. This leaflet publicised a march to the Westland factory in Hayes, near London. Trade unionists from DATA (Draughtsmen’s and Allied Technicians’ Association) refused to work on the contract. The helicopters were supplied, but because of widespread opposition these were the only weapons exported to South Africa under the 1970–74 Conservative government.

Pic8421. Protest at the murder of Jeanette and Katryn Schoon

ANC member Jeanette Schoon and her six-year old daughter Katryn were killed in Angola by a parcel bomb sent by the South African security services on 28 June 1984. AAM protesters gathered on the steps of St Martin‘s in the Fields because the police banned demonstrations on the pavement in front of South Africa House.

bom10. ‘Boycott South African Goods March 1st to 31st 1960’

Leaflet asking people to take part in the March Month of Boycott. Around 700,000 copies were distributed in the run-up to the campaign launch on 28 February 1960.

pic9205. ‘Tell de Klerk: Stop the Violence’

In the first three years of F W Klerk’s presidency, at least 7,000 South Africans were killed in political violence perpetrated by the Inkatha Freedom Party and undercover forces. In its September 1992 Month of Action for Peace and Democracy, the AAM called on de Klerk to take measures to stop the killings.

zim08. ‘No Munich in Rhodesia’

In October 1968 British Prime Minister Harold Wilson met Ian Smith on board HMS Fearless to put new proposals for a settlement in Rhodesia which fell far short of ‘no independence before majority rule’ (NIBMAR). The negotiations broke down but the British government did not withdraw the Fearless plan.  At the Commonwealth conference in London in January 1969 the AAM held a vigil calling for NIBMAR.

bdg16. SWAPO Will Win

Badge in the colours of the South West Africa People’s Organisation (SWAPO).

msc16. ‘Viva Angola! Viva Zimbabwe! Drink Café Vitoria’

Mug promoting AA Enterprises Café Vitoria coffee, imported from Angola and Zimbabwe as part of a campaign to increase trade with the frontline states.

pic6903. Conference on liberation and guerrilla warfare, 1969

The AAM marked its 10th anniversary with a conference on guerrilla warfare in Southern Africa on 6 July 1969. Speakers included historian Basil Davidson and representatives of ZAPU, MPLA and ANC. The conference was a turn to the left for the AAM. Paul Foot argued that it should stress the links between ‘exploiters in South Africa and in the UK’. Ruth First stressed the ‘indivisibility’ of the guerrilla struggle in Southern Africa and of the white response. Left to right: Tennyson Makiwane (ANC), Edward Ndhlovu (ZAPU), Basil Davidson.

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