Political prisoners

pri28. ‘Free the Vaal 22’

Leaders of the United Democratic Front (UDF) were charged with treason in January 1986 in a trial that became known as the ‘Delmas trial’. They included ‘Terror’ Lekota and Popo Molefe, the UDF’s Publicity and General Secretary, and Frank Chikane. The trial dragged on until 1989, when their conviction was overturned on appeal.

pri29. SATIS Emergency Campaign

The South African government tried to crush the township uprisings of 1984–86 by detaining thousands of protesters and charging a record number of people under its repressive legislation. In response Southern Africa the Imprisoned Society (SATIS) launched an emergency campaign focusing on death sentences, political trials, and convicted prisoners and detainees. Supporters were sent case-by-case information and suggestions for action.

pri30. SATIS National Conference

The South African government tried to crush the township uprisings of 1984–86 by detaining thousands of protesters and charging a record number of people under its repressive legislation. This leaflet advertised a conference convened by Southern Africa the Imprisoned Society (SATIS) in December 1986 to mobilise support for its emergency campaign.

pri31. ‘Free All Apartheid’s Detainees’

A new campaign for the release of South African and Namibian detainees was launched by Southern Africa the Imprisoned Society (SATIS) at a conference in December 1986. It highlighted the number of children imprisoned – 40 per cent of the 24,000 people detained in the six months after the June 1986 State of Emergency were under 18. This brochure set out the facts and figures behind the campaign. 

pri32. ‘Free All Apartheid’s Detainees’


Altogether 30,000 South Africans were held in detention under the national State of Emergency imposed in June 1986. This leaflet promoted a petition launched with the backing of 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.

pri33. ‘Free All Apartheid’s Detainees’

Altogether 30,000 South Africans were held in detention under the national State of Emergency imposed in June 1986. This petition was launched with the backing of 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.

po170. ‘Free All Apartheid’s Detainees’ petition poster

Poster publicising a petition calling for the release of South African detainees launched in 1987. 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.

nam24. ‘Free All Namibian Political Prisoners’

The Scottish Namibia Committee was set up in the 1980s to campaign In support of the South West Africa People’s Organisation (SWAPO). This petition called attention to the brutality with which Namibian political prisoners were treated. It urged the British government to intervene with the apartheid government for their release.