Students Against Apartheid

Soweto anniversary demonstration

Demonstrators marched through central London on 18 June 1977 to mark the first anniversary of the Soweto uprising. The march was organised by the National Union of Students and National Union of School Students, with support from the AAM. Two days before, Nkosazana Dlamini and Canon Collins spoke at a commemoration service in the crypt of St Martin’s in the Fields. In Scotland AAM supporters held a vigil outside South Africa’s Glasgow consulate. 

Copyright © John Sturrock/Report

 

DISINVESTMENT CAMPAIGNS

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.

NUS-AAM STUDENT NETWORK

In 1971 the National Union of Students and the AAM set up a network to co-ordinate student campaigns. Over the next decade students at nearly every university and college in Britain organised some form of anti-apartheid action. At more than half of all colleges students called on the university authorities to sell shareholdings in British companies with South African interests. They rejected the argument that institutions should use their shares to lobby for pay increases for African workers and pressed for total disinvestment from South Africa.

SOUTHERN AFRICAN LIBERATION MOVEMENTS

In the 1960s and 1970s students collected funds for the liberation movements across Southern Africa. They campaigned for the independence of Namibia and for support for guerrilla fighters in the Portuguese colonies of Mozambique and Angola. They led the AAM’s mass marches to stop the British government granting independence to Rhodesia before black majority rule.

SASO AND NUSAS

When student leaders of the black South African Student Organisation (SASO) and the National Union of South African Students (NUSAS) were banned and imprisoned in the early 1970s, British students protested outside the South African Embassy. They raised funds for scholarships for black students from South Africa and Namibia to study at universities in Britain.

FREE NELSON MANDELA

The National Union of Students was one of the founding organisations of Southern Africa the Imprisoned Society (SATIS). In 1964 the University of London Union made Nelson Mandela its Honorary President. Later, in the 1980s, many student unions named buildings in honour of Mandela and initiated moves to grant him an honorary degree.

student protest

'Surround the Embassy', student protest, 1985.

 

NUS AAM leaflet

NUS-AAM Handbook on Southern Africa.

 

South Africa Recruitment Boycott

Poster asking students not to work in South Africa.

 

No sham debate

This debate at the Oxford Union with Bantustan chief Buthelezi was cancelled after student protests.

 

Hull University leaflet

Hull students campaigned for the University to disinvest from South Africa. 

 

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