1980s

pic8906. ‘Apartheid is bankrupt: No debt rescheduling’

Supporters of End Loans to Southern Africa (ELTSA) leafleted shareholders outside the annual general meeting of NatWest Bank in April 1989. They were asking the bank not to take part in an agreement to reschedule South Africa’s foreign debt. In 1985 South Africa was forced to announce a moratorium on its debt repayments, a crunch moment in the decline of the apartheid economy which led to the opening of negotiations in the early 1990s.

pic8927. Tyneside AA Group carnival float

Tyneside AA Group asked carnival goers in to support the AAM’s ‘Boycott Apartheid 89’ campaign on May Day 1989.

pic8928. Tyneside AA Group carnival float

Tyneside AA Group asked spectators to boycott Shell products at Newcastle upon Tyne’s May Day carnival in1989. 

pic8929. Tyneside AA Group carnival float

‘Don’t Buy South African goods’ was the message on Tyneside AA Group’s float at Newcastle upon Tyne’s May Day carnival in 1989. Local anti-apartheid supporters were asking spectators to support the AAM’s ‘Boycott Apartheid 89’ campaign.

pic8910. ‘Stop Apartheid Coal’, Teesside, 1989

Trade unionists from Teesside and Hartlepool protested against the unloading of South African coal at Teesport in north-east England on 11 May 1989. British miners and other trade unionists were at the forefront of the campaign against imports of South African coal. By the late 1980s the international campaign meant that it was often sold at a discounted price.

pic8911. Namibia emergency campaign, May 1989

In December 1988 South Africa signed the UN Plan for the Independence of Namibia, which led to the holding of free elections in November 1989. With the Namibia Support Committee, the AAM set up the Namibia Emergency Campaign (NEC) to mobilise British support for Namibian independence and solidarity with the South West Africa People’s Organisation (SWAPO). On 13 May 1989 the NEC held a conference where 200 delegates were briefed by SWAPO Labour Secretary Jason Angula.

80s58. European Community Manifesto

In the late 1980s the AAM joined with other European anti-apartheid organisations to co-ordinate pressure on the European Economic Community to impose targeted sanctions against South Africa. This manifesto was published in the run-up to the 1989 elections to the European Parliament. It called for a mandatory embargo on coal and agricultural imports from South Africa and a ban on bank loans and credit facilities.

pic8918. ‘Save the Upington 14’

The Upington 14 were sentenced to death on 26 May 1989 because they were present at a demonstration during which a black policeman was killed. They included a 60-year old woman, Evelyn de Bruin. Anti-apartheid supporters picketed the South African Embassy in London calling for clemency for the Upington 14. After an international campaign for their release, the sentence was overturned in May 1991.