Poster advertising the Southern Africa Liberation Fund set up by the NUS as a clearing house for funds raised by local student unions for the Southern African liberation movements. Collecting material aid was one of the main activities of British students who took action on Southern Africa in the 1970s.

In 1974, students at University College London asked the college authorities to establish whether companies in which the college held shares had dealings with the South African military or paid below subsistence wages.They demanded that the college disinvest from any such companies. This pamphlet reviewed the South African operations of firms in which University College held shares. In the early 1970s students at over half Britain’s colleges and universities took action for disinvestment from South Africa.

In September 1971 the National Union of Students, AAM and Committee for Freedom in Mozambique, Angola and Guiné set up a student network to coordinate student campaigning on Southern Africa. Every year through the 1970s and early 1980s the network held an annual conference to discuss campaign priorities. This is the report of the third conference, held at Keele University in July 1974. The conference agreed to prioritise raising material aid for the Southern African liberation movements, campaigning for disinvestment from South Africa and for a boycott of Barclays Bank.

In autumn 1974 students at Manchester University disrupted a meeting of the University Council in protest against its refusal to sell all the university’s shares in British companies with investments in South Africa. In response to earlier student demands, Manchester’s Vice Chancellor announced that shares in nine firms had been sold. At Durham University the student union held a vote which resulted a clear majority for the sale of holdings in companies involved in South Africa.

This letter from Durham University Students Union put the case for total disinvestment from South Africa. It asked Durham students to back the union’s call for the sale of the university’s holdings in all companies with South African interests by supporting it at special meetings of their Junior Common Rooms.

From 1972 students at Durham University campaigned for the university to sell its shares in all companies with interests in South Africa. The University Council responded by selling shares in Consolidated Gold Fields and writing to the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry asking for the code of conduct for companies investing in South Africa to be given the force of law. This student press release set out the progress of the campaign to November 1974.

This circular to Durham University teaching staff asked them to choose between advocating the sale of the university’s shares in companies with South African interests and using the shares to press for higher wages for African workers. This was a major debate in the 1970s. The AAM and its supporters argued that all economic involvement in South Africa strengthened the apartheid system and called for total disinvestment.

As part of a long-running campaign to pressure Durham University to sell its shares in companies operating in South Africa, in the autumn of 1974 Durham Students Union asked Junior Common Rooms at all the university’s constituent colleges to discuss and vote on the issue. This poster asked students to call for disinvestment. In the subsequent votes, over 63% of those who voted supported the disinvestment campaign.