Africa Groups of Sweden

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Alternate Names: Africa Groups' Recruitment Organisation, Isolate South Africa Committee, Afrikagrupperna
Duration: 1974 - present; some predecessor organizations go back to the 1960s
Location: Uppsala, Sweden

The Africa Groups of Sweden (AGS) was constituted as a national organization in April 1974 in Uppsala. The initiators were local Africa Groups in Uppsala, Stockholm, Gothenburg, Lund and Jonkoping. A number of these groups were originally organized in the early 1960s as South Africa Committees, i.a. in Lund and Uppsala. The object was to support the liberation fronts in Southern Africa against colonialism, imperialism and racism on the liberation movements' own conditions. (In 1970 there were four local Africa Groups in Sweden. Five years later there were seven and in 1982 they had increased to 17 together with 18 contact persons all over the country. The four local groups together had about 100 members in 1970. In 1982 AGS had roughly 1,000 members and in 1992 almost 1,500.) Prior AGS was formed, autonomous local groups had already cooperated to a certain degree in studies, production of material, and common actions, such as publishing the periodical Africa Bulletin, which was issued from 1963 on under the name of South and South West Africa Information Bulletin and further on Southern Africa Information Bulletin. Twice a year, the local groups met at conferences, but there was no common platform. The most important joint production during these years was the study book Imperialism and Liberation Struggle in Africa, published in 1972. Fundraising was conducted for MPLA in Angola, FRELIMO in Mozambique and PAIGC in Guinea-Bissau. A main activity of AGS was lobbying authorities on Southern Africa through campaigns, fundraising, and information activities. The first "Southern Africa Week" was arranged all over the country in 1973, which continued as an annual event for many years. Tours with African guests were also arranged annually, often to schools. Various courses, sometimes in the form of summer camps, were another activity. Conferences and seminars were arranged, such as seminars for choirs teaching liberation songs. Furthermore AGS published books, booklets and other information material. AGS cooperated with anti-apartheid organizations internationally, especially with the other Nordic countries. When the Portuguese colonial empire broke down in 1975 and Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau became independent states, AGS started project and volunteer activities in these countries. From then on, campaign activities concentrated more on South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe with support for ANC, SWAPO and the Patriotic Front. Volunteer activities in Southern Africa eventually became extensive, and in 1978 AGS formed a special organization for this work, The Africa Groups' Recruitment Organisation (ARO). This volunteer work started in Mozambique, and as the other countries became independent ARO started activities in Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa. Support of projects in the latter two countries was clandestine up to the elections of 1989 and 1994 and was handled by AGS from 1986. Six years earlier, AGS started the project "Health Care for SWAPO" in cooperation with the organization "Bread and Fishes" in the SWAPO refugee camps in Angola. In 1978, AGS established the "Isolate South Africa Committee" (ISAC), an umbrella organization of all types of organizations and institutions engaged in support for the struggle against apartheid. ISAC eventually represented 1.5 million people altogether and became an influential lobby organization. AGS and ISAC cooperated closely. With the liberation of Namibia in 1990 and the fall of apartheid in 1994, AGS concentrated on aid activities for the liberated countries in Southern Africa. AGS and ARO merged in 1992 and formed one organization, "Afrikagrupperna" (Africa Groups of Sweden). (Source: Nordic Documentation on the Liberation Struggle in Southern Africa)

Organizational Archive

Title: Africa Groups of Sweden
Time Span: 1974 - 1992 plus 1992 and later material
Media: 176 vol. + 12 boxes
Description: Archives of the Africa Groups of Sweden (AGS) [In Swedish: Afrikagrupperna]. Papers, correspondence, minutes, publications 1974 - 1992 (some later material as well)
Housed At: Archives and Library of the Swedish Labour Movement (ARAB)
Location: Mailing: Box 1124, SE-111 81 Stockholm. Visiting address: Upplandsgatan 4, Stockholm., Sweden
Catalog/Finding Aid: view
Phone: +46 8 4123900
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