1990s

gov49. Memorandum to the Council of Ministers of the European Community

This memorandum from the Liaison Committee of the Anti-Apartheid Movements of the European Community expressed concern about the EC’s plan to send a high-level troika of government ministers to South Africa. It proposed terms of reference for the mission. The Liaison Committee was set up in the late 1980s to co-ordinate anti-apartheid action in the European Community.

tsh38. ‘Mandela Released! Free South Africa Now!’

Nelson Mandela’s release from prison on 11 February 1990 was celebrated by opponents of apartheid all over the world. But it was only a first step towards ending apartheid. This T-shirt was part of the attempt to ensure that anti-apartheid campaigners kept up their pressure on the South African government. The image of Mandela was an artist’s impression based on photographs taken before he was imprisoned in 1962.

msc15. ‘South Africa Freedom Now!’ mug

After the release of Nelson Mandela in February 1990, the AAM campaigned for a democratic South African constitution under the slogan ‘South Africa Freedom Now!’. This mug was produced for the campaign.

gov50. UK Policy towards South Africa

After the lifting of the bans on the liberation movements and the release of Nelson Mandela in February 1990, the AAM argued that the British government should press President de Klerk to create a climate conducive to negotiations. This submission to the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee called for the maintenance of sanctions and the recognition of the central role of the African National Congress.

gov51. Memorandum to the Foreign and Colonial Secretary

In the immediate aftermath of the lifting of the bans on the liberation movements in February 1990, the AAM accused the British government of allowing President de Klerk to dictate the scope and pace of change. This memorandum showed how Britain was encouraging the apartheid government to hold out for a constitution that fell short of universal suffrage in a united South Africa. It argued that the lifting of the State of Emergency and release of political prisoners were essential to create a climate conducive to genuine negotiations.

po123. Tell Mrs Thatcher Stop Supporting Apartheid

Poster publicising a march and rally from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square on 25 March 1990. The AAM campaigned throughout the 1980s to pressure Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher into dropping her opposition to sanctions against South Africa. Thatcher declared her intention to lift UK voluntary bans on new investment and tourism promotion on 10 February 1990, the day before Nelson Mandela’s release.

90s03. Tell Mrs Thatcher ‘Stop Supporting Apartheid’

The AAM organised a mass demonstration on 25 March 1990 calling for the maintenance of sanctions and the release of all South African political prisoners. It warned that British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and South African President de Klerk were advocating a constitution based on ‘group rights’ – apartheid under a different name. The main speaker at the demonstration was Rivonia trialist Andrew Mlangeni.