International Defence and Aid Fund for Southern Africa

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Alternate Names: British Defence and Aid Fund for Southern Africa, Christian Action
Location: London, United Kingdom

The International Defence and Aid Fund for Southern Africa (IDAF) was an anti-apartheid organization that smuggled £100 million into South Africa for the defense of thousands of political activists and to provide aid for their families while they were in prison. IDAF grew out of Christian Action (CA), an organization set up by John Collins aimed at relating Christianity to economic, social and political life, and that worked towards reconciliation with Germany and help for the starving people of Europe. In 1948 Collins was appointed Canon of St Paul's Cathedral in London. CA raised money raised money for the families and dependents of those sent to prison during the Defiance Campaign. In 1954 John went to South Africa where he saw apartheid and its effects for himself, and met activists and leaders in the liberation movements. In 1956, when 156 activists were arrested and charged with High Treason, Canon Collins sent £100 to Ambrose Reeves, Bishop of Johannesburg, asking him to brief the best available defense lawyers and pledging CA to raise the funds to pay legal expenses and care for the families of the Treason Trialists. Reeves, foreseeing further repression, suggested widening CA's terms of reference and so the British Defence and Aid Fund for Southern Africa (as it was originally called) was born. As repression in South Africa increased, Defence and Aid responded to ever more pressing political and legal defense needs. The organization grew and began to receive international recognition and support, mainly from the Scandinavian countries and the United Nations. Several countries formed aid committees. IDAF went international in 1965, with branches in Britain, New Zealand, Scandinavia, Holland and India. On March 18, 1966, the then Mister of Justice Johannes Vorster banned the South African Defence and Aid Committee as an 'unlawful organization' under the Suppression of Communism Act but IDAF continued to send aid through secret channels. Over a period of 25 years, £100 million was smuggled into South Africa. The organization also had an extensive research and publication operation. Canon Collins died in 1982 and Horst Kleinschmidt was named Director of IDAF that same year, a position he held until the organization closed. (See The Canon Collins Educational Trust Fund for Southern Africa)

Organizational Archive

Title: International Defence and Aid Fund for Southern Africa
Time Span: 1960-1990
Media: Papers, publications, microfiche 800 boxes. Photographs and audio-visual material and Kliptown books 10 Box files
Description: Papers and publications of the International Defence and Aid Fund for Southern Africa (IDAF). The University of the Western Cape-Robben Island Mayibuye Archives also has an oral history interview with Horst Kleinschmidt, who as a South Africa exile joined the IDAF staff in 1979 and served as Executive Director from 1983-1991, that includes his description of his early life in Namibia, his involvement with the Christian Institute, and his escape from South Africa into exile in Amsterdam and London, and then his time as Director of IDAF. IDAF material on Namibia has been moved to the National Archives of Namibia. Additional archives of various country branches of IDAF are in a number of locations.
Housed At: University of the Western Cape-Robben Island Mayibuye Archive
Location: UWC-Robben Island Mayibuye Archives, Level 1, UWC Main Library, Modderdam Road, Bellville, Cape Town, South Africa
Phone: 27 (0) 21 959 2939/2954
Reference Email:
Related Website:

Organizational Archive

Title: International Defence and Aid Fund for Southern Africa (Namibia material)
Time Span: 1960s - 1990
Description: Papers and publications related to Namibia are located in this collection, while the main IDAF archive is at the University of the Western Cape-Robben Island Mayibuye Archive.
Housed At: National Archives of Namibia
Location: Private Bag 13250, Windhoek, Namibia
Restrictions: Unknown
Phone: 264-61-2935211
Reference Email:
Related Website:

Related Archives

Related Archive
Title: Archbishop Trevor Huddleston (correspondence and papers)
Time Span: Africa: primarily 1943-1998
Description: In 1943 Trevor Huddleston was sent to the diocese of Johannesburg in South Africa as Priest-in-Charge of the Community's Sophiatown and Orlando Anglican Missions. In 1949 Huddleston was appointed Provincial of the Community of the Resurrection in South Africa and Superintendent of St. Peter's School (the church school). In South Africa Huddleston became active in the struggle against apartheid. He campaigned against the forced removal of the black community from Sophiatown and decided to close St. Peter's School rather than hand it over to government control following the passing of the Bantu Education Act. In 1956 he was recalled to England. He addressed the founding meeting of the Anti-Apartheid Movement (AAM) in June 1959. In 1960 Huddleston returned to Africa when he was appointed Bishop of Masasi in Tanganyika. He was transferred back to England in 1968 to serve as Suffragan Bishop of Stepney in London. The following year he was elected Vice-President of the AAM. In 1978 Huddleston was appointed Bishop of Mauritius and, shortly later, Archbishop of the Indian Ocean. In 1981 he was elected President of the AAM. He retired to England two years later (1983). Although retired, Huddleston continued to support many organizations and groups. This included serving as President of the AAM (1981-94) and Chairman of the International Defence and Aid Fund for Southern Africa (1983-98). Correspondence and papers relating to Huddleston's work, the organizations in which he was involved, and his friends and colleagues. Included are sermons, speeches, photographs, audio-visual material and newspaper cuttings.
Housed At: University of Oxford, Bodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies
Location: Rhodes House, South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3RG, United Kingdom
Catalog/Finding Aid: view
Phone: +44 (0)1865 277150
Reference Email:
Related Website: