Message to Archbishop Trevor Huddleston, President, Anti-Apartheid Movement, on the 25th Anniversary of its Founding by O. R. Tambo, 26 June 1984

Dear Mr. President,

The African National Congress congratulates the British Anti-Apartheid Movement on the twenty-fifth anniversary of its founding and wishes you ever greater successes in your efforts to mobilise all anti-racist forces in Britain in a united front of action against the apartheid regime in Pretoria. The Anti-Apartheid Movement can with justifiable pride look back at a record of great achievements. From its small beginnings in London twenty-five years ago, the Anti-Apartheid Movement has spread to every corner of the world. Its ideas are today deeply implanted in the social consciousness of the British people. London, once the nerve centre of a vast empire of oppression and domination, is today the largest Anti-Apartheid Zone in the British Isles.

I wish in particular to congratulate you personally, Mr. President, who together with President Julius Nyerere, the Chairman of the Frontline States, participated in the founding of the Anti-Apartheid Movement.

The issue that then brought us together still unites us today. We remain confident that victory shall finally be ours.

We salute the world's outstanding fighters against apartheid colonialism who have gathered in London to mark this important occasion. I sincerely regret not being able to be present personally.

Yet, even as we rejoice, we must remind ourselves that the very fact that this movement still exists testifies to our determination to eradicate the scourge of apartheid from the face of southern Africa. The Anti-Apartheid Movement will by its nature always be caught in this paradox that it will only be able to congratulate itself the day its existence is no longer necessary.

It is an historic fact that over the centuries of contact between British and South African peoples, the best elements of British society have always shared with us a common tradition of opposition to racism and national oppression. Another fine example has recently been set during the magnificent public demonstrations that greeted P.W. Botha's visit to London: making it quite clear that large numbers of Britons consider apartheid a crime against humanity. It is indeed a measure of the moral influence that the Anti-Apartheid Movement wields that in its public disclosures about the talks, the Thatcher government felt obliged to present itself as a critical interlocutor rather than a friend of P.W. Botha.

The newly acquired respectability of the South African racists should spur us to ever greater efforts to reassert the principle of, and continue the struggle for, the total isolation of the apartheid regime. This is a moral imperative derived not merely from the historic necessity to crush apartheid, but also as a direct contribution to the struggle against racism everywhere.

No country, no people, no government that has dealings with apartheid South Africa can hope to escape contagion.

As we mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Anti-Apartheid Movement we must once again appeal to our friends in Britain: as the struggle inside South Africa grows more intense and bitter, we shall have occasion to call on you again and again for the moral and material support that has helped to sustain us over the last twenty-five years.

The struggle continues, victory is certain.

O.R. TAMBO 

President 

African National Congress 

June 23, 1984

The "Boycott South Africa" Movement was founded in London, at a meeting addressed by Father Huddleston, Julius Nyerere and others on June 26, 1959. It was renamed Anti-Apartheid Movement in 1960.

This message was sent by Mr. Tambo on June 23, 1984.