Political prisoners

fai04. Memorial for Steve Biko

The memorial meeting for Steve Biko held on Sunday 13 September 1987 marked the tenth anniversary of his death in detention. A packed congregation at Notting Hill Methodist Church in west London heard readings by Muslims, Jews and Christians and an address by Barney Pityana. The event was organised by the AAM’s Multi-Faith Committee and SATIS (Southern Africa the Imprisoned Society).

lgs62. Reading AA Campaign letter

Letter from Reading Anti-Apartheid Campaign to local trade union branches advertising a meeting calling for the release of South African political prisoners.

lgs64. Reading AA Campaign leaflet

Reading Anti-Apartheid Campaign leaflet asking local people to take action in support of the campaigns for the reprieve of the Sharpeville Six, sentenced to death in South Africa, and the release of trade unionist Moses Mayekiso, one of five people charged with sedition. The leaflet also advertised the Shell boycott and the AAM’s national ‘Sanctions Now!’ demonstration on 24 October 1987.

pic8704. Wales AAM demonstration

Children held cards remembering young detainees in South Africa on a march organised by Wales AAM in Cardiff on 24 October 1987. In Sophia Gardens, ANC representative Thando Zuma said the apartheid regime had imprisoned 8,000 young people without charge in the previous 18 months.

pic8723. Petition for the release of South African detainees, 1987

Musicians Little Steven and Jerry Dammers sign the SATIS petition calling for the release of detainees in South Africa. Altogether 30,000 South Africans were held in detention under the national State of Emergency imposed in June 1986. The petition was supported by the British Council of Churches and the TUC and was signed by a third of a million people in Britain. It was presented to the South African authorities, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and the UN Secretary-General on Human Rights Day, 10 December 1987.

pic8733. Petition for the release of detainees

A petition for the release of all apartheid detainees was delivered to Prime Minister Thatcher on Human Rights Day 10 December 1987 by a  delegation led by AAM President Trevor Huddleston and trade union leader Clive Jenkins. Among the thousands of signatories were the archbishops of Canterbury and York, the leaders of all three British opposition parties and celebrities from the world of the arts like Peggy Ashcroft and Tom Stoppard.

pri34. ‘Defend the Namibian 8!’

The special police unit Koevoet was known for its extreme brutality perpetrated on captured Namibian freedom fighters. This leaflet publicised the case of eight supporters of the South West Africa People’s Organisation (SWAPO) charged under the Terrorism Act and tortured to force them to confess to the charges.

nam28. ‘Free Jason Angula’

Jason Angula, Labour Secretary of the South West Africa People’s Organisation (SWAPO), was detained without trial in October 1987. British civil service unions campaigned for his release, together with the Joint Campaign Against the Repression of Trade Unionists. Angula was released at the end of 1988.