1970s

pic7103. Demonstration at Westland Helicopters, 1971

Demonstrators outside the Westland Helicopters factory after a march through Hayes, Middlesex. In March 1971 the Conservative government announced a contract to sell seven Wasp helicopters to the South African Defence Force. Trade unionists at Westland’s Yeovil plant refused to work on the helicopters. Although the Wasps were supplied, opposition from British public opinion and from the Commonwealth was so strong that that no other arms deals were agreed.

arm13. Hyde Park rally against arms sales to South Africa

The AAM marked the eleventh anniversary of the Sharpeville massacre in 1971 with a rally in Hyde Park against arms sales to South Africa. A dramatised expose of Labour and Conservative governments record on arms sales was presented by artists including Monty Python star Graham Chapman. Because of widespread opposition from the British public the only weapons sold to South Africa by  the 1970–74 Conservative government were seven Wasp helicopters.

pic7104. Demonstration against P W Botha, 1971

Demonstrators waiting for the arrival of South African Defence Minister P W Botha at the Ministry of Defence in Whitehall, 10 June 1971. Botha was seeking assurances from his British counterpart Lord Carrington that Britain would supply warships to South Africa. He was accompanied by SADF Commander in Chief General Hiemstra, a former Nazi sympathiser.

pic7105. Demonstration against PW Botha, 1971

Demonstrators waiting for the arrival of South African Defence Minister P W Botha at the Ministry of Defence in Whitehall, 10 June 1971. Tomatoes and smoke flares were thrown at him as he entered the Ministry. Botha was seeking assurances that Britain would supply warships to South Africa. The 1970–74 Conservative government announced that it would lift the arms embargo against South Africa, but because of public opposition the only weapons it supplied were seven Wasp helicopters.

pic7106. PW Botha at the Ministry of Defence, Whitehall

South African Defence Minister P W Botha visited the Ministry of Defence on 10 June 1971 for talks with his British counterpart Lord Carrington. Protesters threw tomatoes and smoke flares as he entered the Ministry. Botha was seeking assurances that Britain would supply warships to South Africa. The 1970–74 Conservative government announced that it would lift the arms embargo against South Africa, but because of public opposition the only weapons it supplied were seven Wasp helicopters.

po011. Britain and South Africa: Partners in imperialism

Poster publicising an AAM conference held on 4 July 1971. The main issues discussed at the conference were the proposed settlement on Rhodesia and action against British firms with investments in South Africa. One of the speakers was Caroline Hunter from the US Polaroid Revolutionary Workers Movement. Polaroid supplied photographic equipment used to produce passbooks for black South Africans. After a long campaign by its largely black US workforce, Polaroid pulled out of South Africa in 1977.

pic7107. Protest at the death of Ahmed Timol

This protester was one of a group of around 30 people who infiltrated the South African Embassy in London to protest against the death of Ahmed Timol. Timol was killed in detention by South African security police on 27 October 1971. His death provoked widespread protests in Britain. He was a former teacher and British teaching unions joined the protests. Ahmed Timol was the 20th political detainee known to have died in police custody.

70s07. ‘Southern Africa in Crisis’ youth meeting

This leaflet advertised a meeting co-hosted by the British Youth Council, with speakers from the Southern African liberation movements.