Students were at the forefront of Anti-Apartheid Movement campaigns. They collected funds for the Southern African liberation movements, campaigned against investment in apartheid and took action in solidarity with students in South Africa. In 1969/70 students took the lead in direct action and mass demonstrations against the rugby and cricket Springbok tours.
NUS-AAM STUDENT NETWORK
In 1971 the National Union of Students and the AAM set up a network to co-ordinate student campaigns. Over the next decade students at nearly every university and college in Britain organised some form of anti-apartheid action. At more than half of all colleges students called on the university authorities to sell shareholdings in British companies with South African interests. They rejected the argument that institutions should use their shares to lobby for pay increases for African workers and pressed for total disinvestment from South Africa.
SOUTHERN AFRICAN LIBERATION MOVEMENTS
In the 1960s and 1970s students collected funds for the liberation movements across Southern Africa. They campaigned for the independence of Namibia and for support for guerrilla fighters in the Portuguese colonies of Mozambique and Angola. They led the AAM’s mass marches to stop the British government granting independence to Rhodesia before black majority rule.
SASO AND NUSAS
When student leaders of the black South African Student Organisation (SASO) and the National Union of South African Students (NUSAS) were banned and imprisoned in the early 1970s, British students protested outside the South African Embassy. They raised funds for scholarships for black students from South Africa and Namibia to study at universities in Britain.
FREE NELSON MANDELA
The National Union of Students was one of the founding organisations of Southern Africa the Imprisoned Society (SATIS). In 1964 the University of London Union made Nelson Mandela its Honorary President. Later, in the 1980s, many student unions named buildings in honour of Mandela and initiated moves to grant him an honorary degree.