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Welcome to birmingham.gov.uk

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Birmingham Anti-Apartheid Movement

Free Nelson Mandela poster

The Anti-Apartheid Movement was founded in 1960, emerging from a group originally known as the Boycott Movement that had been established the previous year. Primarily an organisation that pursued economic forms of protest against the regime in South Africa, the focus of the Movement was broadened in the wake of the Sharpeville massacre in March 1960. Sixty-seven Africans, many of them children, were killed and 186 wounded when the police opened fire on a demonstration organised by the Pan-Africanist Congress in the township of Sharpeville. There was widespread international condemnation, and a state of emergency was declared in South Africa. 1,700 people were detained and the black political parties banned. Local anti-apartheid groups were formed across the UK.


Youth Against Aparthied

It is unclear exactly when Birmingham Anti-Apartheid was formed, but the archive contains records dating back to 1966. Much of the archive dates from the 1980s and early 1990s, when campaigns against apartheid began to reach a wider audience. As one of South Africa's major trading partners, one of the main means of protest in Britain was through economic channels. A 1984 campaign in Birmingham called for consumers to boycott goods from South Africa. Material relating to this campaign survives in the archive, and interestingly contains proofs of the leaflets handed out. As well as being in English, these were translated into Urdu, Gujarati, Hindi, Bengali and Punjabi, in an attempt to appeal to all of the city's diverse communities.


'Some Common Bond' Birmingham Black International History
Joseph Sturge and the Anti-Slavery Society
The Female Society for the Relief of British Negro Slaves
Avtar Singh Jouhl and the Indian Workers Association
Avtar Singh Jouhl and the Indian Workers Association continued ...
Henry Gunter and the Afro-Caribbean Organisation
Black History in Birmingham Libraries