Local authorities

Hackney Council press release announcing the renaming of an east London housing block as Mandela House in 1984. Many British local authorities named roads, public gardens and housing estates in honour of Nelson Mandela in the 1980s as part of the campaign for his release.

Lambeth Borough Council in south London published this review of the implementation of the Anti-Apartheid Declaration it adopted in 1984. It located the Declaration within the Councilís wider anti-racist and equal opportunities policies. The review showed the practical problems involved in ensuring that the Council did not make purchases from companies with South African interests.

The Greater London Council and the AAM held a press conference on 30 May 1984 to protest against the Conservative government’s invitation to South African President P W Botha to visit Britain. The GLC played a big role in the campaign against the visit, with national press ads, an anti-apartheid banner outside County Hall and an exhibition ‘Signs of Apartheid’ at the Royal Festival Hall. It sponsored a music festival in Jubilee Gardens after a march through London on 2 June. Left to right: Abdul Minty, Trevor Huddleston, GLC Labour Councillors Paul Boateng, Ken Livingstone, Bob Hughes and SDP-Liberal Alliance GLC Councillor Adrian Slade.

Three local councillors from London’s black community express their opposition to Botha’s visit to Britain in June 1984. Black organisations were prominent in the opposition to the visit. They formed a special mobilising committee and there were many articles in the London black press. The West Indian Standing Conference held on all-night vigil on 1–2 June.

In December 1983 the Greater London Council adopted a Declaration pledging that it would do all in its power to make London an apartheid-free zone. This leaflet advertised a conference co-organised with ELTSA (End Loans to Southern Africa) to discuss how to implement the declaration. The conference brought together representatives of local government, trade unions, churches, ethnic minority organisations and community organisations. The AAM was one of the sponsors.

Leeds City Council, local trade unions, and Leeds City and University AA Groups came together to organise a week of anti-apartheid events in October 1984. Activities included a vigil for political prisoners, collection of material aid, film shows and fundraising concerts, and an activists conference.

Over 500 people picketed the opening night of Funny Girl, starring Marti Caine, at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield in 1984. They were protesting against Marti Caine’s 14-month contract at Sun City and her outspoken defence of South Africa. Local Equity members signed a petition supporting the protest. The Crucible later agreed with Sheffield Council that it would not employ actors who appeared on the UN Register of performers who had appeared in South Africa.

This Declaration was adopted by Glasgow District Council in March 1985. Glasgow was also the first city to honour Nelson Mandela by making him a Freeman of the City in 1981.