Boycott movement

Report of the meeting held in Holborn Hall on 26 June 1959 to launch a boycott of South African goods. The speakers were Julius Nyerere, then President of the Tanganyika Legislative Council, Kanyama Chiume from Nyasaland (later Malawi), ANC representative Tennyson Makiwane, Vella Pillay, representing the South African Indian Congress, and Rev. Michael Scott. The meeting was organised by the Committee of African Organisations. This report appeared in the July issue of the Transvaal Indian Congress Bulletin and is the only known contemporary account of the meeting.

Leaflet published by the Committee of African Organisations at the launch of the boycott campaign. This was the first of many leaflets asking British shoppers to boycott South African goods. It was distributed in London shopping centres in the summer of 1959.

This letter asked supporters of the boycott of South African goods to distribute leaflets in three London shopping centres in August 1959. A special subcommittee of the Committee of African Organisations was set up to organise the boycott following the meeting to launch the Boycott Movement on 26 June. It was unable to sustain activity in the run-up to the October 1959 British general election and a re-formed boycott committee was set up in November.

This leaflet was published by the Caribbean Women’s National Assembly in Trinidad in response to the British boycott initiative in 1959. The Boycott Movement wrote to organisations all over the world to internationalise the boycott campaign. Caribbean countries were among the first to boycott South African goods in the 1950s.

Correspondence in a north London newspaper, the Finchley Press, 24 and 31 July 1959. Like the writer of one of these letters, opponents of the boycott often argued that it would hurt black workers. The Boycott Movement countered this by publicising an appeal for a boycott from ANC President Chief Albert Luthuli and other anti-apartheid leaders within South Africa.

This statement was published in the Boycott Movement’s broadsheet, Boycott News, early in 1960. It was signed by Chief Albert Luthuli, President of the ANC, Dr G M Naicker, President of the South African Indian Congress and Peter Brown, Chairman of the South African Liberal Party. For the next 35 years the AAM based its boycott campaigns on this appeal. Boycott News was widely circulated in the March Month of Boycott Action. Three issues of the broadsheet were produced.

Leaflet advertising a meeting organised by a local Boycott Committee in Finchley and Friern Barnet, north London on 18 February 1960. In the run-up to the March Month of Boycott meetings like this were held all over Britain. One of the first local boycott actions took place in Finchley on Saturday 11 July 1959, organised by the Committee of African Organisations and Finchley Labour Party.

Leaflet asking people to take part in the March Month of Boycott. Around 700,000 copies were distributed in the run-up to the campaign launch on 28 February 1960.