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

  • Oliver Tambo Centenary

    Tambo 2The centenary of Oliver Tambo’s birth on 27 October 1917 will be celebrated in South Africa and Britain. Tambo led the ANC during the long years when Nelson Mandela and other ANC leaders were imprisoned on Robben Island. His dedication, incorruptibility and vision meant that the ANC survived to take part in the negotiations which led to South Africa’s first democratic election in 1994. In Britain the OR Tambo Centenary Committee is organising a lecture at South Africa House by Judge Albie Sachs on 26 October 2017. There will also be a competition for a piece of artwork celebrating Tambo’s vision for school students in the London Borough of Haringey, where Tambo’s family lived during their exile from South Africa.

  • Scotland against Apartheid

    Scotland was in the forefront of the international campaign against apartheid. The country had a strong missionary tradition in Southern Africa; this was one of the sources of the more radical internationalism demonstrated in its support for the Anti-Apartheid Movement. In 1981 Glasgow became the first city to make Nelson Mandela an honorary citizen and Scotland is still twinned with the Eastern Cape in South Africa. A new film, ‘South Africa, Scotland and Apartheid’ tells this story. You can watch it

  • London Recruits new trailer

    London Recruits will tell the sensational story of the young women and men who undertook secret missions for the ANC in the bleakest years of the apartheid regime. The film will be out later this year. You can watch its new trailer here


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