1960s

60s01. Programme of the Anti-Apartheid Committee

On 21 March 1960 South African police opened fire on a crowd protesting against the Pass Laws at Sharpeville in the southern Transvaal. Sixty-nine people died and at least 180 were injured. The British Boycott Movement renamed itself the Anti-Apartheid Committee and its draft programme proposed a ‘Shun Verwoerd’s South Africa’ campaign that took the radical step of moving from an individual boycott of South African goods to calling for UN economic sanctions and the total isolation of South Africa.

60s02. Emergency in South Africa

60s02. Emergency in South Africa

After the Sharpeville massacre on 21 March 1960 the apartheid government banned the African National Congress and Pan Africanist Congress and detained hundreds of anti-apartheid activists. This leaflet asked people in Britain to protest and boycott South African goods.

pic6017. Boycott Movement rally, 28 February 1960

Liberal MP Jeremy Thorpe speaking at the rally held  in Trafalgar Square to launch the March Month of Boycott Action. The other speakers were the leader of the Labour Party Hugh Gaitskell, ANC leader Tennyson Makiwane, Lord Altrincham from the Conservative Party, Rita Smythe from the Co-operative Women’s Guild and Trevor Huddleston. During the month, local councils all over Britain banned South African goods and supporters distributed leaflets to shoppers calling for a boycott. 

pic6018. Boycott Movement rally, 28 February 1960

ANC leader Tennyson Makiwane speaking at the rally held in Trafalgar Square to launch the March Month of Boycott Action. The other speakers were the leader of the Labour Party Hugh Gaitskell, Liberal MP Jeremy Thorpe, Lord Altrincham from the Conservative Party, Rita Smythe from the Co-operative Women’s Guild and Trevor Huddleston. During the month, local councils all over Britain banned South African goods and supporters distributed leaflets to shoppers calling for a boycott. 

pic6014. Sharpeville massacre protest, 22 March 1960

In the week following the Sharpeville massacre, there were daily protests outside the South African High Commission in London. Police tried to break up the protests. In this photo a student is manhandled into a police car during a demonstration the day after the massacre.

pic6015. Sharpeville massacre protest, 22 March 1960

In the week following the Sharpeville massacre, there were daily protests outside the South African High Commission in London. London printworkers, seen here in Charing Cross Road with their banner proclaiming ‘South Africa Stinks’,  joined the demonstrations the day after the massacre.

 

pic6013. Sharpeville massacre protest, 24 March 1960

In the week following the Sharpeville massacre, there were daily protests outside the South African High Commission in London. In this photo a woman is manhandled by police officers trying to clear the area of protestors.

pic6012. Sharpeville massacre protest, 25 March 1960

In the week following the Sharpeville massacre, there were daily protests outside the South African High Commission in London. In this photo a policeman tries to snatch a blood-smeared photograph of the massacre from the hands of a protestor.