Anti-Apartheid Movement: Scottish Committee

Alternate Names: Action for Southern Africa Scotland, Scottish Committee of Action for Southern Africa, Scottish Committee of the Anti Apartheid Movement
Duration: 1975 - 1994
Location: Glasgow, United Kingdom

Anti-apartheid activity in Scotland goes back at least to 1959 when there was an active campaign to boycott fruit, cigarettes and other goods imported from South Africa. Through out the 1960s and 1970s branches of the London based Anti-Apartheid Movement (AAM) had existed in Glasgow and Edinburgh. The Scottish Committee of the Anti Apartheid Movement was formally established in 1976. It was affiliated with AAM and represented on the National Committee of the AAM which was responsible for the interpretation, implementation and development of policy between annual general meetings, and it met a minimum of three times per year. But the Scottish Committee had certain degree of autonomy within the UK structure. Brian Filling was the Chair and John Nelson was Secretary of the Scottish Committee for its complete existence. The Scottish Committee was an integral part of the Movement. It was made up of two delegates from each recognized local anti apartheid group in Scotland, one delegate from each student and other anti apartheid groups in Scotland recognized by the Scottish Committee, and one delegate from each of a maximum of ten affiliated Scottish-level organizations. Office bearers were elected at the Scottish annual general meeting and these were chairman, vice-chairman, secretary, treasurer and other functional officers as found necessary. The Scottish Committee met monthly. The aims and objectives of the AAM included informing the people of Britain and elsewhere about apartheid and what it meant to the people of Southern Africa. AAM also campaigned for international action to help bring the system of apartheid to an end and to co-operate with and support Southern African organizations campaigning against apartheid. The object of the Scottish Committee was to further the work of the AAM, especially in Scotland. This was done through promoting the exchange of information and ideas between anti-apartheid groups, through coordinating the activities of such groups and where appropriate, through undertaking activities on its own account. The Scottish Committee was responsible for the recognition of local anti apartheid groups in Scotland and therefore for their admission into membership of the Anti Apartheid Movement. Activities in Scotland covered a number of specific areas which were the focus of international campaigning. These included sports, culture, retail and academic boycotts, campaigns against nuclear and military collaboration, loans to South Africa and for oil sanctions. Scotland was also very active in the international campaigns for the release of Nelson Mandela over his 27 years in captivity. The Movement's work was not limited to South Africa. It was one of the first organizations to highlight the "unholy alliance" between apartheid South Africa, the racist regime in Rhodesia, and Portuguese colonial rule in Africa. It was actively involved in promoting independence for the former Portuguese colonies of Angola and Mozambique, as well as for Zimbabwe and Namibia and the Scottish Committee and its local groups played their part. The Scottish Committee for Local Authority Action Against Apartheid was established on 21 March 1985 and the Scottish Women's Sub Committee was launched on 16 June 1987. The position of Youth Officer was created at the Scottish Committee annual general meeting in August 1987 and a Union Sub Committee was formally established in December of the same year. Supporters in Scotland also included church and religious groups and the student population. In local communities it was local anti apartheid groups who carried out the work of the Movement, and while these changed over the years, local areas of activity included Aberdeen, Ayr, Central Region, Clydebank, Cumbernauld, Cunninghame, Dumbarton, Dumfries, Dundee and Tayside, East Kilbride, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Fraserburgh, Fife, Glasgow East, Glasgow North West, Glasgow South, Hamilton, Inverness, Midlothian, Paisley/Renfrew and West Lothian. After the elections on 27 April 1994 and the victory of the ANC and Nelson Mandela, apartheid came to an end. The last Annual General Meeting of the Scottish Committee took place on 3 December 1994 when it was dissolved and its assets transferred to the Scottish Committee of Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA)(Action for Southern Africa Scotland).

Organizational Archive

Title: Anti-Apartheid Movement in Scotland Archive
Time Span: 1965-1994 (predominant 1976-1994)
Media: 24 Meters
Description: The collection holds the minutes, papers and correspondence of the organization from 1975 to 1994, including the Scottish Committee of AAM. The archive also holds some Glasgow and Edinburgh branch meeting material and other documentation that predates the establishment of the Scottish Committee. Further to this there is a large collection of national and international material which helps create a full picture of the Movement’s activities and gives an indication of other organizations that gave their support. The Archive is also rich in ephemera including, posters, stickers, and postcards.
Housed At: Glasgow Caledonian University Library
Location: Learning Services Office, Glasgow Caledonian University, City Campus, Cowcaddens Road, Glasgow G4 0BA, United Kingdom
Restrictions: Open by arrangement with the Archivist
Phone: +44-141-331-3879
Reference Email:
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