Birmingham Anti-Apartheid Movement

Duration: 1966 - 1994
Location: Birmingham, United Kingdom

It is unclear exactly when Birmingham Anti-Apartheid, a branch of the British Anti-Apartheid Movement, was formed but its archives contain records dating back to 1966. As one of South Africa's major trading partners, one of the main means of protest in Britain was through economic channels. A 1984 campaign in Birmingham called for consumers to boycott goods from South Africa. Following on from this campaign, Birmingham Anti-Apartheid began to try and push for the wards of Handsworth and Lozells to become an 'apartheid free-zone', with none of the shops selling produce from South Africa. This followed on from a similar successful campaign in Bristol. At a meeting to address this issue, the secretary of Birmingham Anti-Apartheid made a speech in support of the campaign: Another important campaign Birmingham Anti-Apartheid became involved in was that of 'twinning' regional anti-apartheid groups with regional ANC groups in South Africa. Started in 1991 by the British Anti-Apartheid Movement as a way of forging links between the two bodies on a more local level, Birmingham Anti-Apartheid was twinned with the Western Transvaal ANC. The Anti-Apartheid Movement continued to operate in Britain until 1994. Following the first truly democratic elections in South Africa, and the dismantling of apartheid, the organization changed its name to Action for South Africa (ACTSA). A Birmingham branch was formed, and continues to operate today.

Organizational Archive

Title: Birmingham Anti-Apartheid Movement
Time Span: 1966 - 1994
Description: Much of the archive dates from the 1980s and early 1990s, when campaigns against apartheid began to reach a wider audience. Material relating to the campaign for a consumer boycott of goods from South Africa survives in the archive, and interestingly contains proofs of the leaflets handed out. As well as being in English, these leaflets were translated into Urdu, Gujarati, Hindi, Bengali and Punjabi, in an attempt to appeal to all of the city's diverse communities. The archive contains detailed information on the relationship between the British Anti-Apartheid Movement and the Birmingham Anti-Apartheid Movement, and some of the fund-raising events organized in Birmingham to support the African National Congress (ANC), such as the yearly Soweto Walks, are highlighted.
Housed At: Birmingham City Archives
Location: Central Library, Chamberlain Square, Birmingham, B3 3HQ, England, United Kingdom
Restrictions: Contact librarian in advance
Phone: (0) 121-303-4511 or (0) 121-303-4512 (Customer Services)
Reference Email:
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