Calling all former activists

If you were previously an anti-apartheid activist we would like to hear from you. Email your story to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


Borrow an exhibition

 A new pop-up exhibition ‘Oliver Tambo – Building the Global Anti-Apartheid Movement’ is now available, celebrating Oliver Tambo’s centenary on 27 October 2017 (12 A2 lightweight boards).

Forward to Freedom’, an exhibition telling the story of the Anti-Apartheid Movement is also available (22 A2 lightweight boards).

To borrow these exhibitions or to suggest a venue where they can be displayed, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 Introduction low res

Video Mandela Concert at Wembley 1988


Video Anti-Apartheid Movement Hyde Park Rally 1988


Video Fruits of Fear campaigns film

Video Have You Heard From Johannesburg


These video interviews are taken from the award winning film series ‘Have You Heard from Johannesburg?’, a Clarity Films production, produced and directed by Connie Field.

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Forward to Freedom

Forward to Freedom tells the story of the British Anti-Apartheid Movement and its campaigns to support the people of South Africa in their fight against apartheid. The AAM also campaigned for freedom for Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Angola, and against South Africa’s attacks on its neighbours.

On this website you can find out how hundreds of thousands of people all over Britain took part in anti-apartheid activities. You can watch demonstrations and concerts, and hear from some of those involved. We hope you will find it interesting and look forward to hearing from you. Please send your feedback and questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The website is part of a wider education project set up by the AAM Archives Committee that includes a pop-up exhibition and learning resources. It has been funded by the Barry Amiel & Norman Melburn Trust and the Heritage Lottery Fund, and organised in partnership with Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA).

The AAM archive is held at the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford and is open to researchers on application for a Bodleian reader’s card. The archive of Wales AAM is at the National Library of Wales, Aberystwth and that of the Scottish AA Committee at Glasgow Caledonian University. Records for many local AA Groups, such as Bristol, Birmingham and Edinburgh, are held at local record offices – see ‘Other Links’.

Follow us on Twitter: @aamarchives

News, events and features

  • Nelson Mandela ‘Official’ exhibition

    A new exhibition about Nelson Mandela opens on 6 February at 26 Leake Street, Gallery, Waterloo, London SE1 7NN. The exhibition will run till 2 June. It explores Mandela’s life from his rural childhood to his years as South African president and world statesman. It features the international campaign for his release from prison, with material from the Anti-Apartheid Movement, the International Defence and Aid Fund and London Recruits. Get your special offer ticket, entering code AAM1250 – £1 for every ticket goes to ACTSA. 

  • Oliver Tambo: new film

    Oliver Tambo was President of the African National Congress, 1967–1991. More than anyone else, he held the organisation together during the long years when Nelson Mandela and other ANC leaders were imprisoned on Robben Island. ‘Oliver Tambo: Have You Heard From Johannesburg’ is a new film that tells his story. It is the latest in the Clarity Films series about the international struggle against apartheid. Director and producer: Connie Field. Executive producer: Albie Sachs. Available online at:

  • ‘Mandela 100’ education pack

    ‘Mandela 100’ is a new education pack showing how Nelson Mandela’s values are relevant to school students’ everyday lives. It is suitable for pupils aged 8–14 and has ideas for involving students through dance, drama and poetry, as well as classroom discussion. The pack was commissioned by Portsmouth Black Women’s Forum and has been successfully trialled in Portsmouth schools. You can order a copy from: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Browse an archive of photos and documents

selection of posters


Former activists tell their stories


A significant part of this project was to record the experiences of former activists in Britain.

Jerry Dammers formed the Specials in Coventry in 1977. An anti-apartheid activist from his school days he helped start Artists Against Apartheid in the UK to campaign and help enforce the cultural boycott. He wrote the song, Free Nelson Mandela, which became an international hit and helped raise awareness of the plight of Mandela and political prisoners in South Africa.

You can hear him talk about writing the song


 Learn about the history of the Anti-Apartheid Movement through the decades

pic6404In 1964 Marlon Brando asked film directors, actors and producers to forbid the screening of their films before segregated audiences in South Africa on a visit to London. In this photograph he is at a press conference with the Anti-Apartheid Movement’s Hon. Secretary Abdul Minty.

The Rolling Stones broke off negotiations for a South African tour and the Beatles announced they opposed apartheid.

Read more about this history starting with the Boycott Movement in 1959, through the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

Barry Amiel and Norman Melburn Trust logoBODLEIAN-LIBRARIES-logoACTSA logoHeritage Lottery Fund logo