1980s

80s49. Wales AAM membership leaflet

Wales AAM was formed in 1981, bringing together local anti-apartheid groups from all over Wales with the influential South Wales area of the mineworkers’ union. It developed a strong Welsh identity, producing bilingual publications in Welsh and English.

pic8101. ‘Release Oscar Mpetha!’

British trade unionists protested outside South Africa House on the first day of the trial of veteran South African trade unionist Oscar Mpetha on 3 March 1981. After a long trial Mpetha was sentenced to five years imprisonment. He was released in 1989 soon after his 80th birthday. In the picture is Bill Rampton from the train drivers union ASLEF, with the banner of the committee set up by the draughtsmen’s trade union AUEW (TASS) to support its former member, political prisoner David Kitson.

Pic8102. ‘Release Oscar Mpetha!’

British trade unionists protested outside South Africa House in London on the first day of the trial of veteran South African trade unionist Oscar Mpetha on 3 March 1981. After a long trial Mpetha was sentenced to five years imprisonment. He was released in 1989 soon after his 80th birthday. Left to right: General Secretaries Jack Boddy from the Agricultural Workers Union, Alan Sapper from the film technicians union ACTT and Stan Pemberton, President of the Transport and General Workers Union.

pic8105. Day of Action against the Namibian Uranium Contract

On 14 March 1981 the National Union of Students organised a National Day of Action against British Nuclear Fuels contract for the supply of uranium from the Rossing mine in Namibia. In the photograph are protesters at the Department of Energy in Millbank, London. The day was marked by 30 demonstrations all over Britain outside Electricity  Board depots. The action was part of a long-running campaign co-ordinated by the Campaign Against the Namibian Uranium Contract (CANUC). Throughout the 1970s and 1980s Britain imported Namibian uranium in contravention of UN resolutions. 

pic8103. Vigil at St Martin’s in the Fields

Vigil on the steps of St Martin’s in the Fields on 16 March 1981, calling for the release of Nelson Mandela. Left to right: Dulcie September, Theo Kotze, former Director of the South African Christian Institute, former political prisoners Stephen Lee and Tim Jenkin, British miners leader Mick McGahey and actor Joanna Lumley. The vigil was the start of a joint campaign by the AAM and the International Defence and Aid Fund.

pic8104. Barclays Bank Annual General Meeting

Actor Julie Christie (centre) with Jane Goldsmith of the World University Service and Gerry Gillman, General Secretary of the clerical workers union CPSA, outside the annual general meeting of Barclays Bank in April 1981. They were members of a ‘shadow board’ set up in January 1981 under the chairmanship of Oxford philosopher Michael Dummett to monitor the bank’s activities in Southern Africa. Barclays finally pulled out of South Africa in 1986.

pic8110. Southampton boycott

Southampton anti-apartheid supporters asked shoppers to boycott South African goods outside Safeways on 25 April 1981. The action was part of a national consumer boycott day, with action at 40 shopping centres throughout the country. Activists also collected signatures for a national sanctions petition launched on 21 March as part of the AAM’s ‘Isolate Apartheid South Africa – Sanctions Now!’ campaign. Seventy thousand people signed the petition.

80s12. Apartheid Gold

Gold was apartheid South Africa’s biggest export earner. This pamphlet was published as part of an international campaign to persuade governments to freeze the import of apartheid gold. It called for a boycott of Krugerrands and for support for the frontline states in stopping the recruitment of cheap labour for the South African mines.