Alternate Names: Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA), AAM Archives Committee, Boycott Movement
Location: London, United Kingdom
Duration: 1960 - 1994 (Boycott Movement 1959 - Summer 1960)
The Anti-Apartheid Movement (AAM) was founded in 1960, growing out of the Boycott Movement, which began in 1959. AAM, sometimes referred to as the British Anti-Apartheid Movement, operated in Britain (England, Wales and Scotland). AAM did not cover Northern Ireland, which was covered by the Irish Anti-Apartheid Movement. AAM worked for the total...
The Anti-Apartheid Movement (AAM) was founded in 1960, growing out of the Boycott Movement, which began in 1959. AAM, sometimes referred to as the British Anti-Apartheid Movement, operated in Britain (England, Wales and Scotland). AAM did not cover Northern Ireland, which was covered by the Irish Anti-Apartheid Movement. AAM worked for the total isolation of the apartheid system in South Africa and to support those struggling against the apartheid system. The AAM drew its support from a country-wide network of local anti-apartheid groups (some of which had previously been local boycott committees), from individual members, and from affiliated organizations such as trades union councils and constituency political parties. Professional and special interest groups arose which worked with the AAM, as did Local Authorities Against Apartheid to co-ordinate local authority action. The AAM co-operated with similar anti-apartheid groups in many other countries. During the 1980s, groups in Europe formed the Liaison Group of National AAMs in the European Community to lobby the European Parliament and Council of Ministers. The AAMs campaigned in a wide range of areas. The consumer boycott remained a constant element; other economic campaigns about investment in South Africa by British and international companies and banks became equally prominent. Also, the AAM collaborated closely with End Loans to Southern Africa (ELTSA). Efforts to isolate apartheid South Africa were pursued through lobbying for boycotts of sporting, cultural, and academic contacts and for the cessation of military and nuclear links. Campaigning on behalf of political prisoners was organized during the 1960s through the World Campaign for the Release of South African Political Prisoners and later through SATIS (Southern Africa: the Imprisoned Society). Campaigning on behalf of Nelson Mandela began at the Rivonia trial and was reinvigorated from the time of his 60th birthday in 1978 until his release in February 1990. The AAM's work included the Southern African region, in which South Africa had so much influence. AAM supported the struggles for freedom in Namibia, Zimbabwe, and the former Portuguese colonies of Angola, Mozambique and, in West Africa, Guinea-Bissau. The AAM co-operated with African liberation movements, particularly the African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa and the South West African Peoples' Organization (SWAPO) of Namibia. A significant number of the Ministers and senior officials in South Africa's first non-racial government, including figures such as Kadar Asmal, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Mac Maharaj, Pallo Jordan, Aziz Pahad, and Abdul Minty, participated in AAM activities, and several held senior positions in the organization. Likewise, many prominent figures in British political life were active in the AAM. For example, Barbara Castle, David Steel, and Trevor Huddleston held the office of AAM President, and Neil Kinnock, Joan Lestor, and Frank Dobson served on its Executive Committee. Following the first democratic elections in South Africa in April 1994, an extraordinary general meeting of the AAM decided to dissolve the Movement and create a successor organization to promote peace and development in the Southern African region. Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA) was launched in October 1994. The AAM Archives Committee created the Forward to Freedom website, and the ACTSA website has a history of the Anti-Apartheid Movement.