Lawyers against apartheid


Healthworkers, architects and lawyers all set up groups to raise awareness of the impact of apartheid in their own professional areas. They campaigned to end the links between British and international organisations and whites only bodies in South Africa. As resistance to apartheid grew, they supported their South African colleagues in their fight against racial segregation.

March to demand British sanctions against South Africa


From the early 1950s Britain’s growing black community felt a special responsibility to help their brothers and sisters living under apartheid in South Africa. Black groups in Britain supported the peoples of Zimbabwe, Namibia, Angola and Mozambique fighting guerrilla wars against white minority regimes. 

Hackney and Tower Hamlets AA Group


The Anti-Apartheid Movement’s local groups gave it a presence all over Britain. Some groups had hundreds of members and links to trade unions, churches and community organisations. Others were kept going by a few dedicated activists.

Soweto anniversary demonstration


Students were at the forefront of Anti-Apartheid Movement campaigns. They collected funds for the Southern African liberation movements, campaigned against investment in apartheid and took action in solidarity with students in South Africa. In 1969/70 students took the lead in direct action and mass demonstrations against the rugby and cricket Springbok tours.

A Sikh contingent on the AAM’s March


The Anti-Apartheid Movement reached out to involve people of all faiths in campaigning against apartheid. Its Multi-Faith Committee was set up at an Inter-Faith Colloquium on Apartheid organised by AAM President Trevor Huddleston in 1984. The Colloquium was attended by Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews, Muslims and Sikhs. The group worked to increase awareness of the evils of apartheid among people of faith.

Women from the ANC Women’s Section

Women played a special part in the Anti-Apartheid Movement. They highlighted the ways in which black women in Southern Africa were doubly oppressed – as black people and as women. They campaigned for women throughout the Southern African region, in Zimbabwe, Namibia and the front-line states, as well as in South Africa.

ANC President Oliver Tambo


Many local councils boycotted South African products in the Boycott Movement’s March Month of Action in 1960, the first British boycott campaign. By the mid-1960s, 54 councils were banning goods from South Africa from their offices and schools, many of them in Wales. In Scotland, the huge Strathclyde Regional Council imposed a ban in 1975.

Trade union banners on a march to Trafalgar Square

British trade union support underpinned the Anti-Apartheid Movement in the 1980s. By 1990, 43 national trade unions, including every major union, were affiliated to the AAM. The AAM worked at every level of the  movement. It lobbied union leaders and held conferences and workshops for rank and file trade unionists.