Action Against Apartheid: The Cultural and Sports Boycott
by Dennis Brutus, South African Non-Racial Olympic Committee
South African Non-Racial Olympic Committee
This background paper was submitted by Dennis Brutus to the Symposium on Culture against Apartheid in Athens, Greece on September 2-4, 1988, organized by the United Nations Special Committee against Apartheid with the Ministry of Culture of Greece and the Hellenic Association for the United Nations. The paper says the apartheid regime is being compelled to re-examine its mechanisms of oppression; at the same time, the liberation movement is re-defining its own position, for example by re-examining and amplifying the Freedom Charter. Also, there is the debate and re-examination of a Call for a Boycott in Culture, in Sport, and in Academia. The paper says the Special Committee Against Apartheid has implemented a Register of Sports Contacts with South Africa and a Register of Entertainers who have performed in apartheid South Africa. Our most important achievement to date has been exclusion of South Africa from the Olympic Games from 1970 onwards; in fact, apartheid South Africa has been excluded from the Olympics ever since the Rome Olympics in 1960. The paper notes the impressive demonstration of solidarity with our struggle by the countries of Africa held at the Montreal Olympics in 1976. The boycotts in culture and sport represent a significant contribution towards a free South Africa; the international community, cooperating with the people of South Africa, has a vital role in this work. The paper says it must be stressed that our goal has never been to achieve a stalemate but rather to win the struggle against apartheid. The paper discusses the South African Council on Sport (SACOS), the American Council for the Arts, the African Literature Association, South African Sports Association (SASA), the International Olympic Committee, Nadine Gordimer, Richard Reeve, Helen Suzman, Nelson Mandela Birthday Concert in London, Johnny Clegg, Hugh Masakela, Paul Simon, South African Theatre Groups, and the South African Amateur Athletic Union. The paper includes an excerpt from RESOLUTION 35/206E of December16, 1980/United Nations' Cultural, Academic and Other Boycotts of South Africa.
Used by permission of Dennis Brutus.
Collection: Southern Africa Solidarity in the U.S. Pacific Northwest (Selma Waldman collection), Michigan State University Libraries Special Collections