This issue of AA News focused on the build-up to the elections in Zimbabwe following the Lancaster House Agreement, which brought to an end Ian Smith’s illegal white minority regime. The AAM accused the interim British administration of failing to ensure that the elections would be free and fair. AA News launched an AAM membership campaign in response to the intensification of resistance to apartheid within South Africa, and announced plans for a new drive to win support from British trade unions. It reported on the growing movement of young white war resisters who had refused to serve in the South African Defence Force.

The AAM accused the British government of allowing white Rhodesian police to intimidate voters in Zimbabwe. This issue also featured protests against the British Lions rugby team’s plans to tour South Africa. It showed how the Thatcher government was using the settlement in Zimbabwe as an excuse for strengthening its ties with the apartheid government and warned against the threat posed by South Africa’s armed forces to the front-line states.  It reported on a conference on Southern African political prisoners  and carried an appeal by SWAPO women’s leader Lucia Hamutenya for action to secure the release of gaoled activists in Namibia.

AA News welcomed the Patriotic Front's victory in the Zimbabwean elections, and called for a stepping up of campaigns against British collaboration with apartheid. It highlighted the campaign to end British uranium imports from Namibia, under a contract signed by the Labour Government. A centrespread focused on South Africa’s illegal occupation of Namibia and listed British companies that exploited Namibia's mineral resources. The issue celebrated the 25th anniversary of the formation of SACTU (South African Congress of Trade Unions) and reported on Swansea University students campaign to stop recruitment by South African companies.

Under the headline ‘Freedom for Nelson Mandela’, this issue reported on the South African Sunday Post’s petition calling for Mandela’s release. It featured a meeting held by the AAM’s Health Committee and plans by AA local groups to hold ‘Soweto walks’ to raise funds for the ANC’s Solomon Mahlangu Freedom College. A centrespread highlighted South Africa’s treatment of political prisoners, and the campaign resources produced by SATIS (Southern Africa the Imprisoned Society), the International Defence and Aid Fund and the AAM. The issue featured the AAM’s ‘Call to Action’, demanding that the government support UN economic sanctions against South Africa.

In its lead article AA News warned that the British Government was subverting UN moves to establish a democratic government in Namibia. It featured moves by British local authorities and church groups to close their accounts with Barclays Bank. It reported on the campaign to save the life of James Mange, a young freedom fighter sentenced to hang, and on new school boycotts by South African students. The issue highlighted the use of the contraceptive Depo Provera to restrict the birth rate of black South African women. It outlined AAM plans for an campaign for an end to nuclear collaboration, freedom for Nelson Mandela and a consumer boycott in June 1980. 

Under the headline ‘Mandela speaks to the world’, this issue reproduced a message smuggled out from Robben Island, and reported on the showing of a new film, ‘Portrait of Nelson Mandela’. It highlighted the shooting of more than 100 protesters in Cape Town after demonstrations by school students and action by striking workers in the Western Cape. It argued that the the ANC guerrilla attack on oil storage tanks at Sasolburg exposed the apartheid regime’s manpower crisis and inability to guard vital infrastructure. A feature on Dorothy Nyembe, serving a 15-year gaol sentence in Kroonstad women’s prison, asked readers to send her messages of support.

In its front page lead, this issue exposed a projected deal between BP and Anglo-American which would give South Africa access to North Sea oil. It carried the full text of Nelson Mandela’s message to the world and an interview with ANC leader Victor Matlou, kidnapped by South African police. A centrespread featured the war in Angola, where South Africa was fighting SWAPO guerrillas and supporting UNITA against the forces of the MPLA government. In the run-up to the British TUC annual meeting, civil servants union official Chris Easterling called on British workers to show solidarity with striking black workers in South Africa.

ANC freedom fighter James Mange’s reprieve from hanging was the front-page story in this issue. AA News called for intensified action in support of other political prisoners currently on trial in South Africa. It reported on a SWAPO conference held in Paris mobilising support from all over the world for international action to expel South Africa from Namibia. It also exposed child labour in South Africa and forced removals of black South Africans dumped in rural areas.