Forward to Freedom tells the story of the British Anti-Apartheid Movement and its campaigns to support the people of South Africa in their fight against apartheid. The AAM also campaigned for freedom for Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Angola, and against South Africa’s attacks on its neighbours.
On this website you can find out how hundreds of thousands of people all over Britain took part in anti-apartheid activities. You can watch demonstrations and concerts, and hear from some of those involved. We hope you will find it interesting and look forward to hearing from you.
The website is part of a wider education project set up by the AAM Archives Committee that includes a pop-up exhibition and learning resources. It has been funded by the Barry Amiel & Norman Melburn Trust and the Heritage Lottery Fund, and organised in partnership with Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA).
The AAM archive is held at the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford and is open to researchers on application for a Bodleian reader’s card. The archive of Wales AAM is at the National Library of Wales, Aberystwth and that of the Scottish AA Committee at Glasgow Caledonian University.
The library contains 1,102 books and well over 3,000 documents, posters, audiotapes, videos and photographs, currently being catalogued and archived by former anti-apartheid activist David Kenvyn. Selected items will be available online.Read more...
The Bernie Grant Arts Centre in north London will host the Forward to Freedom AAM history exhibition, 5–20 September. The exhibition will be on show at Finsbury Library, 1–15 October as part of the London Borough of Islington’s Black History Month programme and at Camden Local Studies and Archives Centre for the whole of October. It will go up in Norwich Millennium Library 21 October–2 November.
Anti-apartheid badges have made it to the V&A as part of the museum’s new ‘Disobedient Objects’ exhibition. They are on show alongside banners from UNITE and Greenham Common, Chilean folk art and objects from all over the world. The exhibition runs from 26 July to 1 February 2015.
Take a look also at the AAM posters in the political posters display in Rooms 88a and 90 – part of a fascinating collection including posters from China, USSSR and nearer home, Stop the War, the 1984 miners strike and the suffragette movement.
Browse an archive of photos and documents
Former activists tell their stories
A significant part of this project was to record the experiences of former activists in Britain.
Jerry Dammers formed the Specials in Coventry in 1977. An anti-apartheid activist from his school days he helped start Artists Against Apartheid in the UK to campaign and help enforce the cultural boycott. He wrote the song, Free Nelson Mandela, which became an international hit and helped raise awareness of the plight of Mandela and political prisoners in South Africa.
Learn about the history of the Anti-Apartheid Movement through the decades
In 1964 Marlon Brando asked film directors, actors and producers to forbid the screening of their films before segregated audiences in South Africa on a visit to London. In this photograph he is at a press conference with the Anti-Apartheid Movement’s Hon. Secretary Abdul Minty.
The Rolling Stones broke off negotiations for a South African tour and the Beatles announced they opposed apartheid.