Stop the hangings

wom14. Stop Apartheid Executions

The Sharpeville Six were sentenced to death in December 1985 because they were present at a protest where black collaborators were killed. One of the six was a woman, Theresa Ramashamola. After huge international protests the death sentences were commuted in July 1988.

hgs22. ‘No Apartheid Executions’

In the mid-1980s there was a big increase in the number of political prisoners sentenced to hang in South Africa. At least 36 people were condemned to death in 1985–87 and five of them were executed. From 1986 Southern Africa the Imprisoned Society (SATIS) co-ordinated a ‘No Apartheid Executions’ campaign, drawing in thousands of people who had never before been involved in anti-apartheid action. As a result of British and international action and campaigns inside South Africa, many of those condemned to hang survived on death row until they were reprieved as part of the negotiating process in the early 1990s.

hgs23. ‘No apartheid executions’ postcard

From the mid-1980s there was a big increase in the number of political prisoners sentenced to death in South Africa. At least 36 people were condemned to death in 1985–87 and five of them were executed. SATIS co-ordinated a ‘No Apartheid Executions’ campaign, drawing in thousands of people who had never before been involved in anti-apartheid action. This postcard, asking the British Foreign Secretary to intervene with the South African government, was part of the campaign. 

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.

hgs15. Save the Sharpeville Six picket

Leaflet for a demonstration outside South Africa House publicising the case of the Sharpeville Six. The six, five men and one woman, were sentenced to death in December 1985 after joining a demonstration at which a black deputy mayor was killed. For the next two and a half years Southern Africa the Imprisoned Society (SATIS) mounted an international campaign for their release. As a result of the campaign and protests from inside South Africa, they were reprieved in July 1988.

pic8724. ‘Stop Apartheid Executions’, 5 August 1987

South African Youth Congress representatives Joe Nkuna and Faye Reagon launched a campaign to save the lives of 32 people sentenced to death in South Africa for their anti-apartheid activities. They planned to present over 32,000 signatures – 1,000 for each prisoner – to the British, West German and US embassies in South Africa to internationalise the campaign. In London 43 MPs signed an early day motion backing the initiative. Southern Africa the Imprisoned Society (SATIS) and the AAM organised a meeting chaired by Betty Heathfield of Women Against Pit Closures.

gov40. Memorandum on Political Executions in South Africa

Memorandum drawing attention to the steep rise in death sentences for political offences in South Africa. The memorandum made detailed proposals for intervention by the British government and asked it to initiate action by the UN Security Council, the European Economic Community and the Commonwealth.

po092. Save the Sharpeville Six

Poster produced for the campaign to save the lives of the Sharpeville Six, sentenced to death after joining a demonstration at which a black deputy mayor was killed. The six were reprieved in July 1988 after spending two and a half years on death row.