Barclays and Shell

she02. Stop Apartheid Boycott Shell

An international campaign to force Shell to withdraw from South Africa was launched in 1987 by anti-apartheid organisations in the Netherlands, USA and Britain. The AAM called for a boycott of all Shell products. These postcards reproduced campaign materials and were designed to be sent to the managers of Shell garages and Shell executives. As a result of the campaign Shell lost major contracts with local authorities. Its share of the UK petrol market fell by nearly 7 per cent.

pic8815. ‘Boycott Shell’

Hammersmith and Fulham AA Group members held a year-long weekly picket of this Shell garage on Fulham Road in west London. The photograph shows health workers from Charing Cross Hospital at the protest. On 1 March 1987 the AAM launched a boycott of Shell as part of an international campaign organised jointly with groups in the USA and the Netherlands. Shell was joint owner of one of South Africa’s biggest oil refineries and a lead company in its coalmining and petrochemicals industries.

pic8928. Tyneside AA Group carnival float

Tyneside AA Group asked spectators to boycott Shell products at Newcastle upon Tyne’s May Day carnival in1989. 

she03. Shell Fuelled Kassinga

In May 1978 the South African Defence Force massacred over 600 people at a SWAPO refugee camp at Kassinga in Angola. They included 120 children. This leaflet accused Shell of being complicit in the killings because they supplied fuel for the SADF in its operations in Namibia and Angola. The leaflet was distributed on the 11th anniversary of the massacre in 1989.

she08. ‘Boycott Shell!’

In January 1987 the AAM launched a campaign for a boycott of Shell products as part of an international campaign to make Shell withdraw from South Africa. This leaflet was published shortly after Nelson Mandela’s release from prison. He endorsed the boycott and said that continued economic pressure was necessary to force the apartheid government into negotiations.

pic9010. ‘Free South Africa Now! Boycott Shell!’

Southwark AA Group supporters picketed a Shell garage in South London in 1990. After Nelson Mandela’s release, the AAM kept up its campaign for a boycott of Shell and for sanctions to pressure the South African government to agree a genuinely democratic constitution.

int24t. Chris Child transcript

Chris Child became involved in the campaign to make Barclays Bank withdraw from South Africa when he was a student at Durham University. He was an Anti-Apartheid Movement staff member from 1976 to 1982, initially as Trade Union Secretary and later as Deputy Executive Secretary. He was responsible for the AAM’s work with trade unions, the disinvestment campaign, Namibia and liaising with local AA groups.

This is a complete transcript of an interview carried out as part of the Forward to Freedom AAM history project in 2013.

int50a. David Granville interview clip

David Granville joined the Anti-Apartheid Movement in London in the early 1980s and later moved to Sheffield, where he was active in Sheffield AA Group. He was the Co-ordinator of Sheffield Southern Africa Resource Centre, set up in 1988 to provide educational resources on Southern Africa to schools and community organisations. 

In this clip David Granville explains how most British institutions and companies had links with apartheid South Africa and how the AAM selected key supermarkets and banks on which to campaign.