1980s

gov20. Letter from Abdul Minty to Margaret Thatcher

Ruth First was assassinated by South African agents in Mozambique in August 1982. The AAM wrote to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher showing that the killing was part of an escalating pattern of South African aggression, including the bombing of the ANC’s London office in March 1982. It asked her to instruct the British Ambassador in Cape Town to make a formal protest to the apartheid government.

pic8216. Solomon Mahlangu Freedom College exhibition

A north London community bookshop hosted a photo exhibition and collection box for the Solomon Mahlangu Freedom College in the summer of 1982. Left to right: ANC representative Ruth Mompati, Jim Corrigall of Haringey AA Group, local councillor Pat Tonge, Dave Palmer of Reading Matters bookshop and local councillor Ernie Large.

pic8221. Freedom for David Kitson

Members of City of London Anti-Apartheid Group call for the release of South African political prisoner David Kitson. The Group launched a non-stop picket of South Africa House in August 1982. Kitson served 20 years imprisonment in South Africa and was released in 1984. In the picture on the right are David Kitson’s wife Norma Kitson and son Steve.

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.