Political prisoners

pic7504. ‘Free student leaders’

AAM demonstrators picketed South Africa House in August 1975 to protest against continuing detentions without trial in South Africa, including that of the Afrikaans poet Breyten Breytenbach. They also called for the release of the nine leaders of the South African Student Organisation (SASO) and Black People’s Convention (BPC) leaders on trial under the Terrorism Act.

 
pri20. ‘The Voice of Freedom’

Programme for an evening of music and readings to mark Human Rights Day, 10 December 1975, and raise funds for campaigns for Southern African political prisoners. Among the performers were actor Ian McKellen and South African saxophonist Dudu Pukwana.

pic7601. ‘Stop Deaths in Detention’

Former Robben Island prisoner Joseph Mdluli was killed by South African Security Police on 19 March 1976, the day after he was detained under the Terrorism Act. This picket was part of a three-day protest outside South Africa House, 7–9 April. Demonstrators carried placards with the names of the 23 other people known to have died in detention. In the mid-1970s there was a big increase in the number of South Africans detained without trial.

pri22. Protest at death of Joseph Mdluli

Joseph Mdluli was an anti-apartheid activist who died within 24 hours of his arrest by the South African Security Police. He was the 24th detainee known to have died in detention. This leaflet advertised a picket of the South African Embassy to protest against police torture and call for the release of all South African political prisoners.

Pic7608. Protest against the death of Joseph Mdluli

Former Robben Island prisoner Joseph Mdluli was killed by South African Security Police on 19 March 1976, the day after he was detained under the Terrorism Act. This picket by 300 ANC and AAM supporters on 9 April was the climax of a three-day protest against his death outside South Africa House. In the photograph are Bishops Richard Wood and Colin Winter.

 
pic7607. Actors protest

British actors, including Sheila Hancock, Albert Finney, Robert Morley, Kenneth Williams and Kenneth Haigh, handed in a letter to South Africa House on 13 October 1976. They were calling for the release of South African actors John Kani and Winston Tshona. Other signatories were Dame Peggy Ashcroft and playwrights David Hare and Howard Brenton. 

pic7609. Protest against deaths in detention

Students protested outside the South African Embassy on 20 October 1976 against the deaths of four more detainees in South Africa. A deputation later delivered a letter signed by National Union of Students and National Union of School Students Presidents Charles Clarke and Dan Hopewell to Prime Minister James Callaghan, asking him to make representations to the South African government. The four murdered detainees included three students and an unnamed man who died in police custody in Carletonville, west of Johannesburg.

po031. Stop the Torture of South African Political Detainees

In the mid-1970s there was a big increase in the number of detainees tortured to death by the South African security police. In 1977 Steve Biko was the 46th detainee known to have died in police custody. This poster was one of a set of three published as part of the international campaign for South African political prisoners.