Report showing the impact of international sanctions on the apartheid economy.

The Sharpeville Six, five men and one woman, were sentenced to death in December 1985 after joining a demonstration at which a black deputy mayor was killed. For the next two and a half years Southern Africa the Imprisoned Society (SATIS) mounted an international campaign for their release. As a result of the campaign and protests from inside South Africa, the Six were reprieved in July 1988. This was an updated version of a pamphlet first produced in 1986.

Over 60 British companies withdrew from South Africa in 1986–88. This report examines the reasons behind disinvestment and its impact on the South African economy.

In May 1988 Local Authorities Against Apartheid organised a conference for local councils on ‘Building Links with the Frontline States’. The conference discussed how to twin local authorities in Britain with their counterparts in the countries of Southern Africa. This pamphlet published the keynote addresses made by Zambian Deputy Foreign Minister Mavis Muyunda and FRELIMO leader Jorge Rebelo.

From the early 1970s the AAM published comprehensive lists of British companies with subsidiaries in South Africa and Namibia. It asked organisations like trade unions, church groups, local authorities and universities to disinvest from companies that had a significant stake in the apartheid economy. 

Robert McBride was a young ANC member sentenced to hang for setting off a bomb in Durban in July 1986. In March 1988 a South African court turned down his appeal against the death sentence. After a campaign for clemency led by his mother, Doris McBride, the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in April 1991.

‘Selling Out to Apartheid’ detailed the ways in which the British government promoted trade with South Africa in defiance of growing national and international support for sanctions. 

The World Gold Commission was launched in 1988 on the initiative of the Anti-Apartheid Movement, End Loans to Southern Africa (ELTSA), the African National Congress (ANC) and South West Africa People’s Organisation (SWAPO). It exposed the central role gold mining played in the apartheid economy and campaigned for a worldwide ban on South African gold. This report set out a three-part strategy: gold sanctions against South Africa; the release equivalent quantities of gold from other countries’ reserves; and a training programme for South African exile students to learn gold mining and marketing skills.