In the late 1970s after the Soweto uprising and the growth of independent trade unions in South Africa, there was a big increase in the number of British trade unions affiliated to the AAM. The main theme of this 1979 conference for British trade unionists was the campaign for sanctions against South Africa.

Poster advertising an AAM fortnight of events to celebrate South Africa Freedom Day, 26 June 1980. The poster provided space for local anti-apartheid groups to insert information about local activities.

Letter to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher calling on the British government to support UN mandatory economic sanctions against South Africa in response to South Africa’s invasion of Angola in 1981.

This leaflet set out the policies of the various Christian denominations in Britain towards investment in South Africa. It asked church people to press for progressive disengagement. The leaflet was produced by the British Council of Churches and Christian Concern for Southern Africa (CCSA), a group that worked closely with the AAM.

Letter from Cranley Onslow, Minister of State at the Foreign Office, acknowledging receipt of the AAM’s petition calling for sanctions against South Africa in November 1982.

The 1980s Conservative government was strongly opposed to sanctions against South Africa, arguing instead for ‘internal reform’. This letter from Malcolm Rifkind, Minister of State at the Foreign Office, followed up a meeting with a delegation from the AAM which focused on Namibia, sanctions and South African involvement in the building of an airfield in the Falkland Islands in the aftermath of the Falklands war.

Leaflet highlighting the failure of the Western contact group to secure the independence of Namibia. The AAM argued that UN mandatory sanctions should be imposed against South Africa to pressure it into withdrawing from Namibia.

Local councillors handed in a petition for sanctions to the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street on 18 March 1985. The petition was supported by 42 councils. Local authorities all over Britain organised exhibitions and film shows and supported local AA group activity during a week of action against apartheid, 18–22 March. Left to right: Councillors Mike Pye (Sheffield), Phil Turner, Phyllis Smith (Sheffield), Paul Boateng (GLC) and Hugh Bayley (Camden).