1980s

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.

tu23. Isolate Apartheid

The conference for trade unionists organised by the AAM on 27 November 1982 was a milestone in its attempts to win support from the British trade union movement. This report reproduces speeches made by TUC General Secretary Len Murray and Abdul Minty, Hon. Secretary of the AAM. This was the first time the TUC declared its unequivocal support for economic sanctions against South Africa. It was also the first time the TUC General Secretary spoke on an AAM platform. The conference was attended by 264 delegates from 160 trade union organisations.

pic8219. Lesotho vigil

In December 1982 South Africa forces crossed the border into Lesotho and massacred 42 South African refugees and Lesotho nationals. This was part of a pattern of South African armed raids and destabilisation of the frontline states throughout the 1980s. The photograph shows anti-apartheid supporters holding a torchlight vigil at South Africa House immediately after the raid.

pic8220. Leeds welcomes ANC representative

Leeds City Council formally welcomed ANC representative Ruth Mompati to Leeds in the winter of 1982. In the picture with Ruth Mompati is the Deputy Lord Mayor Rose Lund. The Council named the gardens in front of the Civic Hall the Nelson Mandela Gardens. Leeds was one of many local authorities to show its opposition to apartheid in the 1980s.

pic8224. Nelson Mandela Gardens, Leeds

In 1982 Leeds City Council renamed the gardens in front of Leeds City Hall Nelson Mandela Gardens.

80s10. ‘Southern Africa: The Time to Act’ workshop

The AAM followed up its ‘Southern Africa: The Time to Choose’ conference held in 1982 with a campaign on the theme ‘Southern Africa: The Time to Act’ the following year. This leaflet advertised a London Anti-Apartheid Committee workshop for local activists in March 1983. It focused on sanctions against South Africa, action against its illegal occupation of Namibia, support for political prisoners and how to build a British movement to help defend the frontline states against South African aggression.