Boycott

In 1986 the British National Union of Mineworkers and the AAM launched a new campaign to stop South African coal imports into the UK. Coal imports to Western Europe rose sharply in the mid-1980s. Coal became South Africa’s second biggest export earner after gold. 30,000 copies of this leaflet were distributed to trade unionists at May Day rallies in 1987, asking them to take action to stop the trade.

Leaflet asking Dundonians to boycott South African goods. The leaflet publicised a day of action in Edinburgh on 22 March and a picket of Dundee-based supermarket chain William Low on 29 March. It also advertised a demonstration outside Dundee District Court to support two Dundee AA Group members for allegedly obstructing the police during the group’s weekly picket of Tesco in the Wellgate Shopping Centre. The Group set up the Wellgate Two Defence Campaign to protest against the arrests. The two were later acquitted.

Islington AA Group supporters asked shoppers to boycott South African products outside Sainsbury’s in Holloway Road, north London, on 14 June 1986.

This leaflet was produced as part of a citywide London campaign to persuade Sainsbury’s to stop stocking South African goods. The London AA Committee set up a special boycott group which met Sainsbury’s directors to put the case for a boycott. Sainsbury’s claimed to have reduced their South African products to less than 1 per cent of total sales.

South Africa diversified its exports in the early 1980s to include textiles and household products. This leaflet asked shoppers to boycott clothes made in South Africa and karakul furs exported from Namibia. In 1985 the TUC wrote to major clothing retailers asking them not to stock clothing made in South Africa. Several chains announced they would not renew their South African contracts. South African textile exports to Britain fell by 35% between 1983 and 1986.

Leaflet advertising a conference organised by the London Anti-Apartheid Committee to co-ordinate community action in the campaign to boycott South African goods. The aim of the conference was to share ideas for practical action to extend the boycott. Topics for discussion included liaison with trade unions and co-ordinating with community and religious leaders and ethnic minority communities.  

Ras Kuomba Balogun of St Paul’s Apartheid Free Zone Campaign in Bristol and Marion Wallace of End Loans of Southern Africa (ELTSA) at the London AA Committee’s ‘Making the Boycott Bite’ conference, 30 November 1986.

Exeter AA Group published this detailed guide for shoppers, showing which shops in Exeter did not stock products from South Africa.