Local authorities

bom13. Africa Year 1960

The Labour Party supported the March Month of Boycott Action as part of its 1960 Africa Year initiative. The Boycott Movement was initially wary about the boycott being taken over by the Labour Party, but its involvement made a big difference to the scale of the campaign. Twenty-one Labour local councils banned South African goods from their schools and town halls. The Party organised 27 local conferences all over Britain. The boycott was the main theme of a party political broadcast by Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell on 9 March.

pic6501. Vigil to remember the victims of Sharpeville

Anti-apartheid supporters outside the South African Embassy in London holding wreaths in memory of the 69 people shot at Sharpeville, on the fifth anniversary of the massacre in 1965. An ‘in memoriam’ book was signed by 3,500 people in St Martin’s in the Fields and a public meeting was held there to commemorate the anniversary. Students at University College London held a South Africa week and Cambridge City Council voted to ban South African produce from its civic restaurant.

pic8113. Freedom of City of Glasgow for Mandela

Nelson Mandela was given the Freedom of the City of Glasgow on 4 August 1981. Glasgow was the first of many British cities to honour Mandela in this way. The photograph shows ANC representative Ruth Mompati speaking at a meeting in Glasgow City Chambers held after the award ceremony. Also in the picture are Nigerian Vice-President Alex Ekwueme,  the Lord Provost of Glasgow Michael Kelly and the Chair of the Scottish AA Committee, Brian Filling.

las01. Sheffield Declaration against Apartheid

Sheffield was the first local authority to pass an anti-apartheid declaration, in October 1981. It pledged to boycott South African goods and ban South African entertainers and sports people from its venues. It also stated it would encourage positive teaching about African liberation struggles in local schools.

las02. Sheffield and Southern Africa

In 1981 Sheffield District Council became the first British local authority to announce it would end all links with South Africa. This pamphlet reprinted the keynote speeches at a conference on the role of transnational corporations in South Africa held in Sheffield in 1982.

pic8216. Solomon Mahlangu Freedom College exhibition

A north London community bookshop hosted a photo exhibition and collection box for the Solomon Mahlangu Freedom College in the summer of 1982. Left to right: ANC representative Ruth Mompati, Jim Corrigall of Haringey AA Group, local councillor Pat Tonge, Dave Palmer of Reading Matters bookshop and local councillor Ernie Large.

mda38. Mayors’ Declaration for Nelson Mandela

Over 20,000 mayors from 56 countries signed a declaration calling for the release of Nelson Mandela in 1982. The Declaration was initiated by the Lord Provost of Glasgow, Michael Kelly, after Glasgow conferred the Freedom of the City on Mandela. This booklet lists the mayors who signed the Declaration.

pic8220. Leeds welcomes ANC representative

Leeds City Council formally welcomed ANC representative Ruth Mompati to Leeds in the winter of 1982. In the picture with Ruth Mompati is the Deputy Lord Mayor Rose Lund. The Council named the gardens in front of the Civic Hall the Nelson Mandela Gardens. Leeds was one of many local authorities to show its opposition to apartheid in the 1980s.