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pic6103. Commonwealth conference march, 1961

 Leaders of the South Africa United Front at the head of a march through central London in March 1961 to demand that South Africa leave the Commonwealth. South Africa was forced to withdraw during the Commonwealth Conference held at Marlborough House. L to r: ANC  Deputy President Oliver Tambo, Fanuel Kozonguizi of the South West Africa National Union, Yusuf Dadoo of the South African Indian Congress, Labour MP Fenner Brockway and Nana Mahomo of the Pan-Africanist Congress. 

60s05. ‘South Africa Out of the Commonwealth What Now?’

In March 1961 South Africa was forced to withdraw from the Commonwealth because of its racial policies, but the British government continued to grant it Commonwealth trade preferences. This leaflet asked AAM supporters to press the government to end arms sales and all trade concessions to South Africa.

60s06. ‘South Africa is out of the Commonwealth – Apartheid Continues’

This leaflet was distributed by anti-apartheid supporters in Leeds. It highlights the key AAM issues in 1961: arms sales and trade with South Africa, South West Africa (Namibia) and apartheid sports teams.

pic6102. ‘Remember Sharpeville’ rally, 19 March 1961

Labour MP Barbara Castle speaking at a rally in Trafalgar Square on the first anniversary of the Sharpeville massacre. This was the first of many such events organised by the AAM to commemorate the victims of the Sharpeville shootings, which took place on 21 March 1960.

pic6104. Trafalgar Square rally, 28 May 1961

AAM supporters met in Trafalgar Square on Sunday 28 May 1961 in support of a strike in South Africa organised in protest against celebrations of South Africa becoming a republic on 31 May. The strike was called by a specially convened National Action Committee, which asked workers and students to stay at home on 29, 30 and 31 May. There was massive repression in the run-up to the strike and it had only patchy support. The strike was the last major attempt at mass peaceful protest in South Africa until the mid-1980s.

pic6105. Trafalgar Square rally, 28 May 1961

ANC leader Oliver Tambo speaking at a Trafalgar Square rally held on Sunday 28 May 1961. The rally was held to support a strike in South Africa organised in protest against celebrations of South Africa becoming a republic on 31 May. The strike was called by a specially convened National Action Committee, who asked workers and students to stay at home on 29, 30 and 31 May. There was massive repression in the run-up to the strike and it had only patchy support. The strike was the last major attempt at mass peaceful protest in South Africa until the mid-1980s.

pic6106. Trafalgar Square rally, 28 May 1961

ANC leader Oliver Tambo in Trafalgar Square at an AAM rally held on Sunday 28 May 1961. The rally was held to support a strike in South Africa organised in protest against celebrations of South Africa becoming a republic on 31 May. The strike was called by a specially convened National Action Committee, who asked workers and students to stay at home on 29, 30 and 31 May. There was massive repression in the run-up to the strike and it had only patchy support. The strike was the last major attempt at mass peaceful protest in South Africa until the mid-1980s.

Date: 1961 

Pic6107. Trafalgar Square rally, 28 May 1961

AAM stewards hold back right-wingers trying to break up a rally held in Trafalgar Square on Sunday 28 May 1961. The rally was held to support a strike in South Africa organised in protest against celebrations of South Africa becoming a republic on 31 May. The strike was called by a specially convened National Action Committee, who asked workers and students to stay at home on 29, 30 and 31 May. There was massive repression in the run-up to the strike and it had only patchy support. The strike was the last major attempt at mass peaceful protest in South Africa until the mid-1980s.