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On 21 March 1960 South African police opened fire on a crowd protesting against the Pass Laws at Sharpeville in the southern Transvaal. Sixty-nine people died and at least 180 were injured. The British Boycott Movement renamed itself the Anti-Apartheid Committee and its draft programme proposed a ‘Shun Verwoerd’s South Africa’ campaign that took the radical step of moving from an individual boycott of South African goods to calling for UN economic sanctions and the total isolation of South Africa.

This statement was published in the Boycott Movement’s broadsheet, Boycott News, early in 1960. It was signed by Chief Albert Luthuli, President of the ANC, Dr G M Naicker, President of the South African Indian Congress and Peter Brown, Chairman of the South African Liberal Party. For the next 35 years the AAM based its boycott campaigns on this appeal. Boycott News was widely circulated in the March Month of Boycott Action. Three issues of the broadsheet were produced.

Leaflet advertising a meeting organised by a local Boycott Committee in Finchley and Friern Barnet, north London on 18 February 1960. In the run-up to the March Month of Boycott meetings like this were held all over Britain. One of the first local boycott actions took place in Finchley on Saturday 11 July 1959, organised by the Committee of African Organisations and Finchley Labour Party.

Leaflet listing the fixtures in the South African Springbok cricket team’s 1960 tour of England. The leaflet asked people to protest to the South African Cricket Association at its selection of a whites-only team. There were protests at many of the games, including Sheffield, where activists planned to paint anti-apartheid slogans on the walls of the stadium.

Leaflet asking people to take part in the March Month of Boycott. Around 700,000 copies were distributed in the run-up to the campaign launch on 28 February 1960.

After the Sharpeville massacre on 21 March 1960 the apartheid government banned the African National Congress and Pan Africanist Congress and detained hundreds of anti-apartheid activists. This leaflet asked people in Britain to protest and boycott South African goods.

This leaflet advertised the march and rally on 28 February 1960 that launched the March Month of Boycott in 1960. Six thousand people marched from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square. The speakers included Labour Leader Hugh Gaitskell, Liberal MP Jeremy Thorpe, Conservative Lord Altrincham, ANC leader Tennyson Makiwane and Rita Smythe from the Co-operative Women’s Guild. The rally was chaired by Trevor Huddleston.

The March Month of Boycott Action organised by the Boycott Movement in 1960 was launched by a march and rally on 28 February. At the head of the march from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square were ANC leader Tennyson Makiwane, Trevor Huddleston, Labour Party Leader Hugh Gaitskell and Dennis Phombeah of the London-based Committee of African Organisations. During the month, local councils all over Britain banned South African goods and supporters distributed leaflets to shoppers calling for a boycott.