1970s

pic7003. March for David Kitson, May 1970

In the early 1970s the Ruskin College Kitson Committee organised an annual march from Oxford to London over the Whitsun holiday. The group campaigned for the release of political prisoner and former trade unionist David Kitson, serving a 20-year sentence in South Africa. The 1970 march ended in a rally in Trafalgar Square at which trade union leaders asked workers to refuse to work on arms for South Africa. The photo shows the marchers setting off from High Street, Oxford. 

pic7008. ‘Down with Racist Sport’

Anti-apartheid protesters at the Surrey Grass Court Tennis Championships in Surbiton, Surrey on 11 June 1970. They were protesting against the participation of a South African player in the tournament.

po010. Conference on Britain’s economic involvement in South Africa

After the cancellation of the Springbok cricket tour in May 1970, the AAM relaunched its campaign to end economic links with South Africa. This poster advertised a conference on Britain’s trade and investment stake in apartheid. The aim of the conference was to highlight the role of British companies like ICI and the British Steel Corporation in supporting the apartheid economy.

70s04. Action Against Apartheid?

After the cancellation of the Springbok cricket tour in May 1970 the Anti-Apartheid Movement stepped up its campaign to recruit new members. This leaflet publicised the AAM’s campaigns for a total boycott of South Africa and an arms embargo.

arm09. ‘Stop the Wasps’

One of the first decisions of the Conservative government elected in June 1970 was to resume arms sales to South Africa. Wasp helicopters, manufactured by Westland Helicopters in Hayes, near London, were on the South African shopping list. This leaflet asked all British people who were opposed to apartheid to join the campaign against arms sales. 

arm08. ‘We Say No to Arms to South Africa’

One of the first decisions of the Conservative government elected in June 1970 was to resume arms sales to South Africa. The AAM immediately appealed to people in Britain to oppose the decision. This leaflet publicised a 24-hour protest fast in Downing Street by former South African political prisoners. In 1971 a Gallup poll found that 71 per cent of people surveyed were opposed to arms sales.

pic7011. South African Foreign Minister protest

South African Foreign Minister Hilgard Muller was met by AAM demonstrators when he visited the British Foreign Office on 20 July 1970. The visit took place shortly after the announcement by the newly elected Conservative government that Britain would resume arms sales to South Africa.

arm11. Arms sales postcard

One of the first decisions of the Conservative government elected in June 1970 was to resume arms sales to South Africa. The AAM launched an international campaign in defence of the arms embargo. Thousands of this postcard addressed to Prime Minister Edward Health were distributed to AAM members, and to trade unions and other organisations.