Anti-Apartheid News

The September issue contested the argument that ‘constructive engagement’ could lead to peaceful change in South Africa. It reported on the show trial of Gonville Ffrench-Beytagh, Dean of Johannesburg, and carried a special feature exposing the built-in racial discrimination in South Africa’s legal system. A feature article argued that white rule in Rhodesia was as discriminatory as apartheid in South Africa. Special correspondent Antonio de Figueredo examined the economic impact of Portugal’s colonial wars. The issue’s back page reproduced the ANC leaflet distributed in major cities all over South Africa.  

This issue reported on the comprehensive resolution on Southern Africa passed at the TUC Congress. It hailed the cancellation of the Springbok cricket tour of Australia as a victory for the international anti-apartheid movement. It carried an extract from The Discarded People, Cosmas Desmond’s book about communities dumped into ‘resettlement camps’. AA News named ICI as the latest target in the Dambusters Mobilising Committee’s campaign against British involvement in the Cabora Bassa dam. A feature on the National Front revealed its ties with South Africa and the illegal Rhodesian regime. An article by Antonio de Figueredo characterised Portuguese colonialism as ‘‘’civilisation” through torture’.

Under the headline ‘The Final Solution’, Joe Slovo exposed the contradictions in the apartheid government’s Bantustan policy. The November issue reported on advances by FRELIMO guerrillas in Mozambique and condemned the UN Security Council’s failure to condemn South Africa for its incursion into Zambia. Judy Todd accused the British Government of selling out to the Smith regime in its new proposals for a settlement on Zimbabwe and Kees Maxey exposed the brutality of white Rhodesia’s prison regime. A feature article showed how Portugal’s conscript army was crumbling because young men were leaving the country rather than serve in its colonial wars.

Ahmed Timol was the 20th detainee to be killed by the South African Security Police, reported this issue of AA News. The newspaper focused on the agreement reached between the British Government and the Smith regime on Zimbabwe and argued that the only acceptable agreement would be one guaranteeing no independence before majority rule (NIBMAR). In extracts from lectures and interviews by Amilcar Cabral during his British tour, it recorded his confidence in winning independence for Guinea Bissau, and PAIGC’s plans for a new society. It revealed the continued persecution of Winnie Mandela, sentenced to a new gaol term for breaking her banning order. 

The February issue led on the campaign to stop the British government granting independence to Zimbabwe without any guarantee of majority rule. It advertised a demonstration in London organised by the Zimbabwe Emergency Campaign Committee. It reported on a strike by Ovambo workers in Namibia and carried an interview by SWAPO Secretary Moses Garoeb. The centrespread celebrated the 60th anniversary of the formation of the African National Congress. A feature on the US campaign to persuade Polaroid to discontinue sales of ID equipment to the apartheid government exposed the poverty wages paid by its South African distributor.

A report on the Zimbabwe demonstration held in London on 13 February highlighted police attacks on demonstrators. AA News carried an interview with Bishop Abel Muzorewa, Chair of the African National Council, the lead Zimbabwean organisation opposing the British settlement proposals. The issue reported on protests in northern Namibia and on the trial of striking workers. AA News correspondent Antonio de Figueiredo exposed Portuguese ‘multi-racialism’ as a cover for white domination. 

The April issue reported on the rejection of proposals for a settlement on Rhodesia by meetings held by the Pearce Commission all over Zimbabwe. In Britain, MPs handed in to 10 Downing Street an 80,000-signature petition calling for no independence before majority rule. In Namibia, AA News reported on more strikes and detentions of Namibian workers. MPLA leader Daniel Chipenda revealed that MPLA had opened a new front near the Cunene dam project on the Namibian border. Recently released prisoners Fred Carneson and Hugh Lewin told AA News about the conditions endured by white political prisoners in Pretoria Local Prison.

AA News again led on the British Government’s attempts to override the rejection of its settlement proposals by the people of Zimbabwe. It reported on protests at the AGM of Barclays Bank against the bank’s Southern African operations, the first time a company AGM had ended in uproar. On Namibia AA News revealed that SWAPO guerrillas were now fighting in the Caprivi Strip and more than 900 workers had been detained after the recent strike wave. A centre spread featured the Conservative MPs who were profiting from their holdings in companies involved in Southern Africa.