1980s

po197. Southern Africa: The Time to Act

Poster produced for the AAM’s 1983 ‘Southern Africa: The Time to Act’ campaign. The campaign warned that South Africa was a threat to peace in Southern Africa and the world. It asked the British government to end its collaboration with the apartheid regime and impose sanctions on South Africa. It called for support for UN moves to bring about the independence of Namibia and for support for the Southern African front-line states in the face of South African aggression. 

80s15. Southern Africa ’83 Manifesto

The AAM drew up this Manifesto for Action as the centrepiece of its ‘Southern Africa: The Time to Act’ campaign in 1983. It was launched at a press conference in London on 24 March. Its aim was to promote discussion on Southern Africa in the run-up to the June 1983 British general election. The manifesto was sent to Prime Minister Thatcher and all the political party leaders. Tens of thousands were distributed throughout Britain.

80s11. ‘Time to Act’ conference, Scotland

This conference in Glasgow was held as part of the AAM’s 1983 ‘Southern Africa: The Time to Act’ campaign. It discussed action on Namibia and the frontline states as well as South Africa. From its formation in 1976 the Scottish AA Committee held events in Scotland that tied in with national events organised by the national AAM in London.

pic8305. South African recruitment protest

Students at Newcastle University protested against a visit by representatives of South African mining companies Gencor and Rand Mines in April 1983. The companies were recruiting mining and metallurgy graduates to work in South Africa. Newcastle students also banned the sale of South African Airways tickets through the Student Union and named part of their union building after Nelson Mandela.

gov24. Memorandum to the Home Secretary

In May 1983 the AAM’s new office in north London was broken into and burgled. This memorandum set out evidence showing that the break-in was the work of South African agents and listed other similar incidents. It repeated the proposals for government action in the AAM’s memo of October 1982 and asked the Home Secretary to make a formal protest to the South African government.

pic8301. ‘Leo’s on the List’

Tyneside AA Group picketed a concert by singer-songwriter Leo Sayer in Newcastle City Hall in May 1983. Sayer had played in Sun City, South Africa, in contravention of the cultural boycott. In 1983 the UN Special Committee against Apartheid set up a register of performers who had played in South Africa. Newcastle City Council tried to cancel the concert, but was forced to let it go ahead after consulting legal opinion. In the picture is Namibian student Gotthard Garoeb.

pic8308. Wreaths for the Moroka Three

The Moroka Three, Jerry Mosololi, Marcus Motaung and Simon Mogoerane,  were young ANC members convicted of belonging to the ANC’s armed wing Umkhonto we Sizwe. They were sentenced to death and hanged on 9 June 1983 in spite of a huge international campaign for clemency. Supporters of SATIS (Southern Africa the Imprisoned Society) held an all night vigil outside the South African embassy on the night before their execution. The picture shows a South African Embassy official removing wreaths attached to the embassy gate in memory of the three young men.

mda09. Festival of African Sounds, Alexandra Palace

The Festival of African Sounds at Alexandra Palace in north London, marking Nelson Mandela’s 65th birthday in July 1983,  was the first big concert held for Mandela. It featured new music by African musicians. The all-star line-up included Hugh Masekela, Jazz Afrika, Dudu Pukwana and the Ipi Tombi dancers. The concert was sponsored by the Musicians Union, the Arts Council and Greater London Arts Association.