Front line states

A FRELIMO delegation led by future Mozambican President Armando Guebuza visited Britain in June 1981 as guests of the newly formed group Stop the War in Angola and Mozambique (SWAM). This leaflet advertised a meeting addressed by Guebuza in Manchester. On 26 June he spoke at a South Africa Freedom Day meeting in London together with ANC President Oliver Tambo. The delegation held discussions with leaders of the AAM on international solidarity with Mozambique.

FRELIMO Central Committee member and future Mozambique President Armando Guebuza at a meeting with representatives of London’s black community, 24 June 1981.

Vigil outside the US Embassy in London on 10 September 1981 to protest against US and UK funding of the South African military in its war against SWAPO guerrillas fighting for independence for Namibia. In the summer of 1981 the South African army crossed Namibia’s northern border to invade Angola.

Letter to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher calling on the British government to support UN mandatory economic sanctions against South Africa in response to South Africa’s invasion of Angola in 1981.

South Africa repeatedly raided neighbouring states to abduct or murder political exiles. This pamphlet documented incursions going back to the early 1960s. It showed how the South African security forces had violated the borders of seven independent states. The pamphlet called on the international community to take action against South Africa for violating international law. 

South Africa was still occupying large areas of southern Angola a year after its invasion in August 1981. On the anniversary of the invasion demonstrators picketed the British Foreign Office and the US, French, West German and Canadian embassies in protest against Western governments’ refusal to act against the apartheld government. 

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.

Starting in 1975, South African forces repeatedly invaded Angola, destroying crops and infrastructure. One of their main aims was to depopulate southern Angola and stop guerrilla fighters from the South West Africa People’s Organisation (SWAPO) crossing into northern Namibia. This pamphlet called on Western countries to pressure South Africa to reach agreement on the independence of Namibia.