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1960s

60s01. Programme of the Anti-Apartheid Committee

After the Sharpeville massacre on 21 March 1960 the Boycott Movement renamed itself the Anti-Apartheid Committee. Its draft programme proposed a ‘Shun Verwoerd’s South Africa’ campaign that took the radical step of moving from an individual boycott of South African goods to UN economic sanctions and the total isolation of South Africa.

 
60s02. Emergency in South Africa

After the Sharpeville massacre on 21 March 1960 the apartheid government banned the African National Congress and Pan Africanist Congress and detained hundreds of anti-apartheid activists. This leaflet asked people in Britain to protest and boycott South African goods.

 
60s03. ‘The Whole World is Angry’

Leaflet published soon after the Sharpeville massacre calling for a continuation of the boycott of South African goods. The reverse side reprints the list of South African goods on the leaflet distributed during the March Month of Boycott Action.

 
60s04. Penny Pledge Campaign

After its March Month of Boycott Action the AAM launched a Penny Pledge Campaign to raise funds and keep the boycott going. It asked supporters to donate one penny and sign a pledge not to buy South African goods.

 
pic6014. Sharpeville massacre protest, 22 March 1960

In the week following the Sharpeville massacre, there were daily protests outside the South African High Commission in London. Police tried to break up the protests. In this photo a student is manhandled into a police car during a demonstration the day after the massacre.

 
pic6015. Sharpeville massacre protest, 22 March 1960

In the week following the Sharpeville massacre, there were daily protests outside the South African High Commission in London. London printworkers, seen here in Charing Cross Road with their banner proclaiming ‘South Africa Stinks’,  joined the demonstrations the day after the massacre.

 

 
pic6013. Sharpeville massacre protest, 24 March 1960

In the week following the Sharpeville massacre, there were daily protests outside the South African High Commission in London. In this photo a woman is manhandled by police officers trying to clear the area of protestors.

 
Pic6012. Sharpeville massacre protest, 25 March 1960

In the week following the Sharpeville massacre, there were daily protests outside the South African High Commission in London. In this photo a policeman tries to snatch the blood-smeared photograph of the massacre from the hands of a protestor.

 
pic6005. Sharpeville massacre protest, 27 March 1960

Thousands of demonstrators marched through central London on 27 March 1960 to protest against the massacre of 69 unarmed demonstrators at Sharpeville on 21 March. The march was organised by the Boycott Movement, together with the Movement for Colonial Freedom and the Committee of African Organisations. It was followed by a rally in Trafalgar Square, organised by the Labour Party. In the days following the shootings, there were scuffles with police outside South Africa House as crowds gathered to protest.

 
pic6010. Oliver Tambo and Trevor Huddleston

Oliver Tambo and Trevor Huddleston in London in 1960.

 
pic6102. ‘Remember Sharpeville’ rally, 19 March 1961

Labour MP Barbara Castle speaking at a rally in Trafalgar Square on the first anniversary of the Sharpeville massacre. This was the first of many such events organised by the AAM to commemorate the victims of the Sharpeville shootings.

 
Pic6103. Commonwealth conference march, 1961

 Leaders of the South Africa United Front at the head of a march through central London in March 1961 to demand that South Africa leave the Commonwealth. South Africa was forced to withdraw during the Commonwealth Conference held at Marlborough House. L to r: ANC  Deputy President Oliver Tambo, Fanuel Kozonguizi of the South West Africa National Union, Yusuf Dadoo of the South African Indian Congress, Labour MP Fenner Brockway and Nana Mahomo of the Pan-Africanist Congress. 

 
60s05. ‘South Africa Out of the Commonwealth What Now?’

In March 1961 South Africa was forced to withdraw from the Commonwealth because of its racial policies, but the British government continued to grant it Commonwealth trade preferences. This leaflet asked AAM supporters to press the government to end arms sales and all trade concessions to South Africa.

 
gov01. Memorandum on the South Africa Bill

After South Africa left the Commonwealth in 1961 the British government passed a ‘standstill Bill’ postponing the removal of Commonwealth trade preferences. In March 1962 the AAM organised a lobby of Parliament against the renewal of the Bill. This memo briefed lobbyists and listed the Conservative MPs most likely to oppose the Bill.

 
60s06. ‘South Africa is out of the Commonwealth – Apartheid Continues’

This leaflet was distributed by anti-apartheid supporters in Leeds. It highlights the key AAM issues in 1961: arms sales and trade with South Africa, South West Africa (Namibia) and apartheid sports teams.

 
60s07. Southern Africa – the Unholy Alliance

Leaflet advertising a conference on the alliance between South Africa, the Central African Federation and Portugal. This was a central theme in AAM campaigns until the Portuguese colonies won their independence in 1975. The conference was attended by around 300 people. It was organised by the AAM, Movement for Colonial Freedom and the Council for Freedom in Portugal and its Colonies, the precursor of the Committee for Freedom in Mozambique, Angola and Guinea Bissau.

 
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’.

 
pic6101. Commonwealth conference, 8 March 1961

In 1961 South Africa was forced to withdraw the Commonwealth because of its racial policies. The AAM held a 72-hour non-stop vigil outside the Commonwealth conference at Marlborough House. It organised a rota of people prominent in British public life, who wore black sashes marking the Sharpeville and Langa massacres. 

 
arm01. ‘No Arms for Verwoerd’

Leaflet publicising a rally in Trafalgar Square on 3 June 1962.

 
60s10. Are We Guilty?

This leaflet stressed Britain’s complicity in the apartheid government’s repression of black South Africans. Thousands were distributed during the AAM’s boycott campaign in October 1962.

 
 
 
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