International Anti-Apartheid Posters
In 1960 the Security Council of the United Nations (UN) adopted a resolution deploring the killing of 69 peaceful protestors at Sharpeville on 21 March. The UN also called on the South African government to abandon its policy of apartheid. Across the globe, governments, churches, trade unions, universities and civil society organisations stood united in their condemnation of the South African government, leading to the formation of Anti-Apartheid Movements. Indeed, many countries share a history of anti-apartheid activity, making the global Anti-Apartheid Movement one of the largest social movements in the world.
As with the resistance movement in South Africa, international Anti-Apartheid Movements used visual media, such as photographs, badges, T-shirts and posters, extensively to convey their messages. In the 1990s, visual materials from the Dutch, British and Swedish Anti-Apartheid Movements were deposited at the UWC-RIM Mayibuye Archives.
Represented here are some of the posters used by the Dutch, British and Swedish Anti-Apartheid Movements in various campaigns. These include the World Campaign for the Release of South African Political Prisoners, the Release Mandela Campaign, the campaign to end economic links with South Africa, including specific campaigns against Shell, Barclays Bank and Outspan fruits. Other posters focus on support for the ANC and the trade union movement, the campaign to cut sporting links with South Africa, particularly by the British Anti-Apartheid Movement, and how artists and musicians rallied to the anti-apartheid cause, as reflected by various posters advertising concerts and exhibitions. Moreover, there are also posters highlighting the armed struggle, the role and importance of women in the anti-apartheid struggle, and support for liberation movements across southern Africa. In addition, the poster collection by the Dutch Anti-Apartheid Movement includes a set in support of Radio Freedom, the ANC’s underground radio station during the apartheid era.