pic8929. Tyneside AA Group carnival float

‘Don’t Buy South African goods’ was the message on Tyneside AA Group’s float at Newcastle upon Tyne’s May Day carnival in 1989. Local anti-apartheid supporters were asking spectators to support the AAM’s ‘Boycott Apartheid 89’ campaign.

pic8910. ‘Stop Apartheid Coal’, Teesside, 1989

Trade unionists from Teesside and Hartlepool protested against the unloading of South African coal at Teesport in north-east England on 11 May 1989. British miners and other trade unionists were at the forefront of the campaign against imports of South African coal. By the late 1980s the international campaign meant that it was often sold at a discounted price.

pic8911. Namibia emergency campaign, May 1989

In December 1988 South Africa signed the UN Plan for the Independence of Namibia, which led to the holding of free elections in November 1989. With the Namibia Support Committee, the AAM set up the Namibia Emergency Campaign (NEC) to mobilise British support for Namibian independence and solidarity with the South West Africa People’s Organisation (SWAPO). On 13 May 1989 the NEC held a conference where 200 delegates were briefed by SWAPO Labour Secretary Jason Angula.

pic8918. ‘Save the Upington 14’

The Upington 14 were sentenced to death on 26 May 1989 because they were present at a demonstration during which a black policeman was killed. They included a 60-year old woman, Evelyn de Bruin. Anti-apartheid supporters picketed the South African Embassy in London calling for clemency for the Upington 14. After an international campaign for their release, the sentence was overturned in May 1991.

pic8912. AAM women’s conference, 1989

The AAM held its first women only conference on 3 June 1989, following a Month of Action in March, which publicised the impact of apartheid on South African women. All over Britain, women held meetings, exhibitions and benefit concerts.

pic8915. Protest at 10 Downing Street, June 1989

Anti-apartheid supporters protested at Downing Street on the eve of President F W de Klerk’s visit to Britain in June 1989.

pic8916. ‘Stop Apartheid! Stop de Klerk!’

UDF President Albertina Sisulu was the main speaker at an AAM rally in London on 20 June 1989 protesting against F W de Klerk’s visit to London. She said de Klerk was trying ‘to improve apartheid and not to abolish it’. She was on her way the USA to meet President Bush. On her way back from the USA she led a UDF delegation which met British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

pic8931. UDF press conference, July 1989

Albertina Sisulu, President of the banned United Democratic Front, and Sister Bernard Ncube of the Federation of Transvaal Women held a press conference in the House of Commons  on 13 July 1989. They were on their way back to South Africa from the USA, where they met President George Bush. During their stay in London the UDF delegation met Margaret Thatcher, the first time a British Prime Minister had met black South African anti-apartheid leaders since Josiah Gumede and Sol Plaatje held a meeting with Lloyd George in 1919.