1980s

pic8214. ‘Bophuthatswana House’ protest

Three young anti-apartheid supporters joined a demonstration at the opening of an ‘embassy’ for the Bophuthatswana Bantustan in Holland Park, West London on 7 September 1982. ‘President’ Lucas Mangope was given a special travel document by the British government to attend the opening. The government refused to recognise Bophuthatswana as an independent state and ‘Bop House’ had no diplomatic status.

pic8215. ‘Bophuthatswana House’ protest

Anti-apartheid supporters protested outside the reception at the opening of an ‘embassy’ for the Bophuthatswana Bantustan in Holland Park, West London on 7 September 1982. ‘President’ Lucas Mangope was given a special travel document by the British government to attend the opening, but the government refused to recognise Bophuthatswana as an independent state and ‘Bop House’ had no diplomatic status.

pic8212. ‘Free Nelson Mandela’ cycle ride

On 11 October 1982 the AAM launched a new campaign for the release of Nelson Mandela in response to a request from Oliver Tambo. On the eve of the launch supporters took part in a ‘Free Nelson Mandela’ sponsored cycle ride from Richmond Park to Trafalgar Square. Next day the AAM launched an international petition calling for Mandela’s release and held a torchlight vigil outside the South African Embassy.

mda05. ‘Free Nelson Mandela’ international petition

This petition was launched on 11 October 1982, International Day of Solidarity with South African Political Prisoners. At the same time, the Free Nelson Mandela Co-ordinating Committee was set up to ask sympathetic groups to organise events to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s 65th birthday on 18 July 1983.

gov19. AAM Memorandum for meeting with the Home Secretary

On 14 March 1982 undercover South Africa agents planted a bomb at the ANC’s London office which did extensive damage. The bomb followed a series of burglaries at the offices of the AAM and other Southern African solidarity groups. This memorandum was presented to the British government by representatives of the AAM at a meeting with the Home Secretary on 13 October 1982. It asked the government to investigate the activities of staff at the South African Embassy in London. It alleged that South Africa used London as a centre for planning subversive activities against independent African states.

pic8217. Namibia Week of Action

Anti-apartheid supporters outside the London offices of Blue Star Port Line during the Week of Action on Namibia organised by the AAM and the Namibia Support Committee, 27 October to 3 November 1982. The company was running a shipping service to Walvis Bay in defiance of UN rulings. Other British companies operating in Namibia were targeted during the week. A former worker at RTZ’s Rossing uranium mine, Arthur Pickering, and a representative of SWAPO’s Women’s Council, Frieda Williams, spoke at 50 meetings all over Britain.

pic8211. Picket of Shirley Bassey concert, Cardiff

Wales AAM supporters asked Shirley Bassey to speak out against apartheid when she appeared at St David’s Hall, Cardiff in November 1982. The year before, she performed in Sun City, South Africa, breaking the cultural boycott. Shirley Bassey grew up in Cardiff’s multiracial Butetown area.

pic8218. AAM Trade Union Conference

The AAM’s trade union conference held on 27 November 1982 was a milestone in winning support from British trade unions. TUC General Secretary Len Murray spoke on an AAM platform. The TUC declared its unequivocal support for economic sanctions against South Africa for the first time. The conference was attended by 264 delegates from 160 trade union organisations. Left to right: AAM Hon. Secretary Abdul Minty, TUC General Secretary Len Murray, General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers Union Jack Jones, and the AAM’s Trade Union Officer Chris Child.