Mouvement Anti-Apartheid

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Duration: 1975 - 1992
Location: Paris, France

The Mouvement Anti-Apartheid (MAA), founded in 1975, supported the African National Congress and the struggle against apartheid and SWAPO and the struggle for independence of Namibia. (It was sometimes called Mouvement Anti-Apartheid/C.A.O. (Campaign Anti-Outspan) after its first campaign to boycott Outspan oranges from South Africa. MAA had an office in Paris and a regional structure made up of about 80 local groups that conducted film shows, discussion groups, and press and poster campaigns. MAA sought to isolate the apartheid regime. Successes included cancellation of the South African Tourist Congress (ASATA) in September 1976, the Transvaal rugby tour and the Springbok tour in 1979; disruption of a tour by South African agronomists and atomic engineers in 1978; and adoption of economic sanctions by the left-wing Fabius government under Mitterrand's presidency. MAA also was active in the campaign against exports of Namibian uranium to Europe, and MAA mobilized several trade unions whose strategic position at airports enabled them to identify shipments of Namibian uranium. MAA produced a range of publications about apartheid and its history and resistance inside South Africa and hosted a center of documentation, targeting the large public as well as specific actors including workers and student trade unions, press, MPs, and officials. MAA's members were mobilized in individual and collective solidarity actions with victims of apartheid wars and repression, with the non-racial sport movement, with refugees, and for the freeing of Nelson Mandela and all political prisoners. The MAA was a platform where a wide range of organizations waged campaigns against French bank loans to South Africa, for the withdrawal of TOTAL-CFP from South Africa, and for the boycott of sport and cultural relations with the regime institutions. It disbanded in 1992 in favor of the launching of a "Platform for co-operation between French and South African NGO's" (O.F.A.S.) (1993-1998). (Sources: Antoine Bouillon, a former MAA member; "The French-Namibia Connection" by Jacques Marchand, paper for MAA presented at the International Seminar on The Role of Transnational Corporation in Namibia, November 29-December 2, 1982 (translated by Joshua Nessen) available on this website; and The French Anti-Apartheid Movement (CAO), Mouvement Anti-Apartheid/C.A.O., Paris, March 1980.)