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
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, Aberystwyth and that of the Scottish AA Committee at Glasgow Caledonian University. Records for many local AA Groups and for the London Anti-Apartheid Committee are held at local record offices – see ‘Links’.
Follow us on Twitter: @aamarchives
Latest News & Events
This year’s ACTSA dinner will take place on Wednesday 29 November at South Africa House. Browse gifts and holidays donated for the auction, dance with guest DJ, enjoy 3-course dinner and drinks. And support Action for Southern Africa in its campaigns for equality and human rights in Southern Africa. Tickets: £75. Tickets are going fast but you can still book here
Julian Bahula, who died on 1 October, was an extraordinary musician, who pioneered the use of music in anti-apartheid campaigning. Julian organised the Africa Sounds concert at Alexandra Palace in London in 1983 to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s 65th birthday. His band Jabula performed at venues all over Britain, showcasing African music and inspiring opposition to apartheid.
The project to set up a new Centre of Memory and Learning in the former ANC London office at 28 Penton Street, Islington has taken a big step forward with the award of a £1.2 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Centre will showcase anti-apartheid campaigning to stimulate action against injustice, racism and inequality. The project already has an exciting programme of events and commissions. The new building is scheduled to open in 2024. To find out more click here.
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
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.