1960s

arm02. ‘No British Arms for South Africa’

Leaflet publicising a rally against British arms sales to South Africa on 17 March 1963. The main speaker was the Labour Party’s new leader Harold Wilson. He told the Conservative government ‘Act now and stop this bloody traffic in the weapons of oppression’. When Labour came to power in October 1964 it announced a limited embargo, but fulfilled a contract for 18 Buccaneer bomber aircraft and continued to sell spare parts to the South African Defence Force.

pic6301. ‘No British Arms for South Africa’ march

Thousands of people marched through central London to protest against British arms sales to South Africa on 17 March 1963. The main speaker at a rally in Trafalgar Square was the Labour Party’s new leader Harold Wilson. He told the Conservative government ‘Act now and stop this bloody traffic in the weapons of oppression’. When Labour came to power in October 1964 it announced a limited embargo, but fulfilled a contract for 18 Buccaneer bomber aircraft and continued to sell spare parts to the South African Defence Force.

pic6302. ‘No British Arms for South Africa’ rally

Part of the crowd at a rally in Trafalgar Square against British arms sales to South Africa on 17 March 1963. The main speaker was the Labour Party’s new leader Harold Wilson. He told the Conservative government ‘Act now and stop this bloody traffic in the weapons of oppression’. Also on the platform were African National Congress General Secretary Duma Nokwe and Labour MP Barbara Castle, President of the Anti-Apartheid Movement.

pic6305. ‘No British Arms for South Africa’ rally

Part of the crowd at a rally in Trafalgar Square against British arms sales to South Africa on 17 March 1963. The main speaker was the Labour Party’s new leader Harold Wilson. He told the Conservative government ‘Act now and stop this bloody traffic in the weapons of oppression’. Also on the platform were African National Congress General Secretary Duma Nokwe and Labour MP Barbara Castle, President of the Anti-Apartheid Movement. 

pic6304. ‘No British Arms for South Africa’ rally

Labour Party leader Harold Wilson at a rally in Trafalgar Square against British arms sales to South Africa on 17 March 1963. He told the Conservative government ‘Act now and stop this bloody traffic in the weapons of oppression’. When Labour came to power in October 1964 it announced a limited embargo, but fulfilled a contract for 18 Buccaneer bomber aircraft and continued to sell spare parts to the South African Defence Force.

pic6307. ‘No British Arms for South Africa’ rally

ANC Secretary-General Duma Nokwe speaking at a rally in Trafalgar Square against British arms sales to South Africa on 17 March 1963. The main speaker was the Labour Party’s new leader Harold Wilson. He told the Conservative government ‘Act now and stop this bloody traffic in the weapons of oppression’. Also on the platform was Labour MP Barbara Castle, President of the Anti-Apartheid Movement.

pic6303. ‘No British Arms for South Africa’ rally

Labour MP Barbara Castle at a rally in Trafalgar Square against British arms sales to South Africa on 17 March 1963. The main speaker was the Labour Party’s new leader Harold Wilson. He told the Conservative government ‘Act now and stop this bloody traffic in the weapons of oppression’. When Labour came to power in October 1964 it announced a limited embargo, but fulfilled a contract for 18 Buccaneer bomber aircraft and continued to sell spare parts to the South African Defence Force.

60s17. Playwrights Against Apartheid

In June 1963 48 British and American playwrights signed a declaration that they would not allow their plays to be performed before segregated audiences in South Africa. This was part of a wider cultural boycott. The actors union Equity already insisted that if members performed in South Africa they must perform in ‘non-white’ venues. The union later took up a declaration promoted by Vanessa Redgrave where members pledged they would not perform in front of segregated audiences.