A pop-up exhibition ‘Forward to Freedom: The history of the Anti-Apartheid Movement’ is available on loan. If you want to borrow it or can suggest a venue where it can be displayed contact us by email
(22 lightweight A2 boards)
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.
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
Scotland’s role in the international anti-apartheid movement will be the focus of an extended version of the ‘Forward to Freedom’ exhibition at the Scottish Parliament, 1–5 February. Four Scottish local authorities gave Nelson Mandela the freedom of their cities and the Scottish AA Committee brought together trade union, church and student support for anti-apartheid campaigns. The exhibition features Mandela’s visit to Glasgow in 1993 and Scotland’s role in the cultural boycott of apartheid South Africa. It will be at Midlothian Libraries, 8–26 February; Aberdeen City Libraries, 29 February–2 April; and Glasgow Caledonian University, 4–29 April.
‘London Recruits: the movie’ will tell how young Londoners undertook secret missions against South Africa’s apartheid regime in the early 1970s. Some of them kept silent for over 40 years. Now Cardiff-based film-makers, Barefoot Rascals, are planning a feature film that will tell their story. The film will feature interviews, dramatised reconstructions and original documentary footage. The makers have already raised their crowd-funding target of £40,000. You can read about the project here.
‘Try Revolution’ tells the story of the Springbok rugby tour in 1981. The film has live footage of the anti-apartheid demonstrations that tried to stop the tour. The protests rocked New Zealand and were beamed to South Africa, where white rugby fans watched in horror and the majority looked on with hope. In this one hour documentary South Africans from Archbishop Desmond Tutu through to ordinary rugby fans talk about how these events affected them personally and helped to end the apartheid system. You can watch a trailer for the film here
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.