1980s

pic8114. US Embassy vigil

Vigil outside the US Embassy in London on 10 September 1981 to protest against US and UK funding of the South African military in its war against SWAPO guerrillas fighting for independence for Namibia. In the summer of 1981 the South African army crossed Namibia’s northern border to invade Angola.

gov17. Letter from the Anti-Apartheid Movement to Margaret Thatcher

Letter to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher calling on the British government to support UN mandatory economic sanctions against South Africa in response to South Africa’s invasion of Angola in 1981.

80s03. Labour Party conference fringe meeting

Every year the AAM held a meeting at the Labour Party conference with speakers from the Southern African liberation movements and the parliamentary Labour Party. The 1981 meeting focused on economic sanctions and South Africa’s aggression against Angola. The Labour Party declared itself in favour of UN mandatory economic sanctions against South Africa at its 1979 national conference. 

pic8111. Political prisoners vigil

Southern Africa the Imprisoned Society (SATIS) marked the UN Day of Solidarity with Political Prisoners on 11 October 1981 with a vigil on the steps of St Martin’s in the Fields. The vigil protested at the repression of the South African trade union movement and called for the release of veteran trade unionist Oscar Mpetha.

80s08. ‘The Case for Sanctions’ lecture series

This leaflet advertised a series of lectures putting the case for sanctions against South Africa organised by the AAM and the Africa Centre. The lectures followed a conference on sanctions organised by the UN and the Organisation of African Unity that declared 1982 the International Year of Mobilisation for Sanctions Against South Africa.

80s04. AAM/Labour Party conference

The 1981 Labour Party conference passed a comprehensive resolution on sanctions against South Africa. This leaflet publicised a joint AAM/Labour Party conference that followed up the resolution by suggesting ways that local Labour Party members could take action. It also discussed practical initiatives for a future Labour government. The conference was attended by 100 delegates from constituency Labour parties and trade unions.

pic8226. ‘Free Steven Kitson’

In January 1982 Steven Kitson was detained by the South African security police when he travelled to South Africa to visit his father David Kitson in prison in Pretoria. David Kitson was serving a 20-year sentence for sabotage. Steven’s mother Norma Kitson and sister Amandla protested outside the South African Embassy in London demanding his release. Steven was threatened by the security police and eventually freed.

pic8209. Neil Aggett protest

Students from King’s College, London blocked the entrance to the government-owned South African Airways at Oxford Circus on 10 February 1982 in protest against the death in detention of South African trade unionist Neil Aggett.