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, 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 and Events
Don’t miss – Brent Journey to Justice exhibition at Willesden Green Library, 15 June to 1 September. The exhibition tells how local people in the London Borough of Brent campaigned against apartheid, as well as showing Journey to Justice’s exhibition about the US civil rights movement and its impact in Britain. It also features material from Brent’s big Brazilian community, highlighting their concerns about the rise of right-wing demagoguery in Brazil. Willesden Green Library, 95 High Street, London NW10 2SF ...
Oliver Tambo was President of the African National Congress, 1967–1991. More than anyone else, he held the organisation together during the long years when Nelson Mandela and other ANC leaders were imprisoned on Robben Island.
Oliver Tambo: Have You Heard From Johannesburg’ is a new film that tells his story. It is the latest in the Clarity Films series about the international struggle against apartheid. Director and producer: Connie Field. Executive producer: Albie Sachs. Available online at: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/olivertambo
‘Mandela 100’ is a new education pack showing how Nelson Mandela’s values are relevant to school students’ everyday lives. It is suitable for pupils aged 8–14 and has ideas for involving students through dance, drama and poetry, as well as classroom discussion.
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.