The Anti-Apartheid Movement (AAM) was one of Britain’s most successful international solidarity movements. Based on compassion, commitment and anger at injustice, it changed the world for the better.
Founded in 1959, originally as the Boycott Movement and from 1960 named the AAM, the Movement campaigned for an end to apartheid in South Africa. It demanded sanctions and for the total isolation of apartheid South Africa.
For 35 years hundreds of thousands of people in Britain joined AAM campaigns, until the first democratic elections in South Africa in 1994.
During that time the Movement:
Campaigned for the release of people detained without trial
Forced the cancellation of the 1970 Springbok cricket tour
Encouraged Barclays Bank and other British companies to sell their South African subsidaries
Led a national boycott of South African imports
Held a star-studded concert at Wembley Stadium to demand Nelson Mandela’s release
In 1994 there was a realisation that there remained a need to campaign on South and southern Africa, and to help overcome the legacy of apartheid; inequality, poverty and injustice. Action for Southern Africa was formed, with a remit to work with the people of southern Africa to build a future of rights, justice and democracy for the region.
The history of the AAM is preserved by the AAM Archives Committee. The AAM archive is held at the Bodleian Library, Oxford and the AAM Scotland archive at Glasgow Caledonian University.