Boycott

90s05. Message from Nelson Mandela

At the concert held in his honour in Wembley Stadium on 16 April 1990, Nelson Mandela asked the people of Britain and the world to maintain sanctions against South Africa until a democratic constitution was in place. He also appealed for people to join the Anti-Apartheid Movement. This AAM membership leaflet reproduced parts of his speech.

pic9008. South African Airways protest

Demonstrators blocked the entrance to the South African Airways office at Oxford Circus on 3 September. In 1990 the AAM campaigned stepped up its campaign to persuade holidaymakers to not to visit South Africa. One of the few sanctions Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher agreed to was a voluntary ban on the promotion of tourism to South Africa or Namibia, but the British government did nothing to put this into practice.

pic9011. ‘Apartheid Is No Holiday’

Representatives of British local authorities joined a protest against the inclusion of South Africa and Bophuthatswana in the World Travel Market at Olympia in November 1990. One of the few sanctions Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher agreed to was a voluntary ban on the promotion of tourism to South Africa and Namibia, but the British government did nothing to put this into practice.

boy16. ‘Apartheid is No Holiday’

In 1990 the AAM made tourism a major part of its consumer boycott campaign. It wrote to major British holiday companies about their policy on selling trips to South Africa. Local AA groups campaigned to persuade local travel agents to stop promoting South African holidays. In London local activists held a sit-in next to the South African Airways stall at the World Travel Market in the Olympia exhibition centre.

boy30. William Low sacking

In 1990 a Newcastle branch of the William Low supermarket chain sacked a young worker, Clare Morgan, for refusing to handle South African products. Tyneside AA Group distributed this leaflet to shoppers asking them to boycott the store until it stopped stocking goods from South Africa.

90s13. An Appeal to Shoppers

Throughout the negotiations for a democratic constitution from 1991 to 1993 the AAM asked supporters to maintain the boycott of South African goods. It argued that continued pressure was needed on the South African government to force it to agree to a genuinely democratic constitution. The UN finally lifted the boycott in September 1993 after it was agreed to set up a transitional executive council. 

90s17. ‘Act now for peace and democracy’

In September 1992 the AAM asked its supporters to take part in a month of action to press the de Klerk government to agree to an interim government and constituent assembly. It called for the maintenance of international sanctions and boycotts.  On 1 September the London AA Committee picketed Sainsbury’s headquarters, because Sainsbury’s sourced its ‘own label’ wines from South Africa. During the month AAM supporters distributed thousands of leaflets outside supermarkets asking shoppers to boycott South African goods.

boy38. Picket Sainsbury’s Head Office

In September 1992, in the aftermath of the massacre at Boipatong, the AAM organised a month of events calling for international support for negotiations for peace and democracy in South Africa. It argued that the consumer boycott must continue until the apartheid government agreed to a democratic constitution. This leaflet advertised a picket of the head office of Sainsbury’s supermarket chain.