Calling all former activists

If you were previously an anti-apartheid activist we would like to hear from you. Email your story to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


Borrow an exhibition

 A new pop-up exhibition ‘Oliver Tambo – Building the Global Anti-Apartheid Movement’ is now available, celebrating Oliver Tambo’s centenary on 27 October 2017 (12 A2 lightweight boards).

Forward to Freedom’, an exhibition telling the story of the Anti-Apartheid Movement is also available (22 A2 lightweight boards).

To borrow these exhibitions or to suggest a venue where they can be displayed, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Video Mandela Concert at Wembley 1988


Video Anti-Apartheid Movement Hyde Park Rally 1988


Video Fruits of Fear campaigns film

Video Have You Heard From Johannesburg


These video interviews are taken from the award winning film series ‘Have You Heard from Johannesburg?’, a Clarity Films production, produced and directed by Connie Field.

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Forward to Freedom

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. Please send your feedback and questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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. Records for many local AA Groups, such as Bristol, Birmingham and Edinburgh, are held at local record offices – see ‘Other Links’.

Follow us on Twitter: @aamarchives

News, events and features

  • Celebrating Oliver Tambo’s centenary

    Competition entry 4 revThe centenary of Oliver Tambo’s birth on 27 October 1917 was celebrated in London with a lecture by Albie Sachs, followed by a packed reception at South Africa House. A very successful competition for school students meant that many young people who had never heard of Tambo now know about his life and work. Students in Haringey, north London, where Tambo’s family lived in exile, were asked to ‘Make a Memorial to Oliver Tambo’. Entries includes poems, artworks, sculptures, websites – and a board game. A prize-giving ceremony at Park View School was attended by local MP David Lammy, Council leader Claire Kober and former anti-activist Lord Peter Hain. The AAM Archives Committee’s new exhibition ‘Oliver Tambo – Building a Global Anti-Apartheid Movement’ went on show at the Marcus Garvey Centre in Tottenham and at the Bernie Grant Arts Centre. The exhibition is still available on free loan – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • New GCSE syllabus

    A new GCSE syllabus ‘South Africa 1960–1994: The People and the State’ is under preparation by the OCR examination board. The syllabus includes a module on the ANC in exile and the international anti-apartheid movement. An OCR ‘A’ level syllabus ‘Apartheid and Reconciliation: South African Politics 1948-1999’ also covers apartheid and the internal and external anti-apartheid struggle.

  • Mandela Scottish Memorial Foundation

    The newly formed Nelson Mandela Scottish Memorial Foundation (NMSMF) is planning to erect a statue of Nelson Mandela in Glasgow to celebrate his centenary in 1918. The Foundation was launched in October at an event at Glasgow City Chambers. Trustees include Sir Alex Ferguson and the Lord Provost of Glasgow. Glasgow already has a square named after Mandela – the former site of the apartheid regime’s Glasgow consulate. For more news of the Foundation’s plans go to



Browse an archive of photos and documents

selection of posters


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.

You can hear him talk about writing the song


 Learn about the history of the Anti-Apartheid Movement through the decades

pic6404In 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.

Read more about this history starting with the Boycott Movement in 1959, through the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

Barry Amiel and Norman Melburn Trust logoBODLEIAN-LIBRARIES-logoACTSA logoHeritage Lottery Fund logo