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The History Of The Antiapartheid Movement Brings Up Images Of Boycotts And Public Campaigns In The UK, But Another Story Went On Behind The Scenes, In Secret This Is The Story Of The Foreign Volunteers And Their Activities In South Africa, How They Acted In Defiance Of The Apartheid Government And Its Police On The Instructions Of The African National Congress ANC From The Transportation Of Weapons To The Passage Of ANC Fighters Into South Africa, This Account Describes The Many Risks Taken By The Volunteers Many Of Whom Were Young Communists, Trotskyists, Or Independent Socialists Who Traveled From The UK, Ireland, The Netherlands, And The United States To Join The Cause


7 thoughts on “London Recruits: The Secret War Against Apartheid

  1. says:

    I read this with interest because I thought my late father was involved in the preparation of some of leaflets that went to South Africa.


  2. says:

    I bought this principally because a friend had contributed a chapter It is an interesting read, being eye witness accounts of the work of those committed to anti apartheid in the 1960s, about which I knew little Each author has their own style so the quality of writing varies but the honesty of their commitment pervades the book.


  3. says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book So much going on of which I for one was totally unaware at the time A chance to celebrate the unsung heroes of the struggle.


  4. says:

    excellent read full of interesting facts about the times.


  5. says:

    A very good record of what went on to support the movement in South Africa.It was after my dear wife was active in the early 1960s, but was a good read.


  6. says:

    An excellent account of the activities of anti apartheid campaigners Funny and compelling And now, with the death of Mandela, a must read.


  7. says:

    I cannot recommend this marvellous book enough It tells the story of the brave women and men who risked life and limb to travel to South Africa to carry out covert acts of propaganda against the Apartheid regime in the 1960s,70s and 80s From all walks of life, they were recruited in London by an extraordinary, charismatic bear of a man, Ronnie Kasrils,a South African who was known in his own country as the red pimpernel Working in closed cells of only two or three people, the agents were chosen through their connection with either trade unions, the Anti Apartheid movement, the Communist Party, and Young Communist League, or other left wing organisations After a completed mission, it was understood that the recruits would never speak of what they had done, in order to protect those who went after And indeed, nor did they in the words of one of the recruits When Nelson Mandela was released and the regime fell, I wondered about telling peoplethen thought perhaps I should wait for permission though wasn t sure from whom.Then as time passed, what I had done belonged to a vanished worldI couldn t just start a conversation with guess what I did once All these accounts are set within the context of South African politics at that time, which are covered in the foreword and introduction With the Rivonia trials of 1964 in which practically every major black liberation activist had been arrested, morale was at its nadir and the black people of S Africa must have felt utterly abandoned to their fate Some freedom fighters were hanged, others, like Nelson Mandela, sentenced to life imprisonment, so the time was ripe for the London recruits to fill the vacuum it was much easier for white people to move around freely within S African society without arousing suspicion Not all missions were successful two of the volunteers were arrested, tortured and given long jail sentences This must seem a disproportionately high price to pay for the dissemination of some leaflets and other propaganda But in a closed society, a police state isolated from the rest of the world, the effect was galvanising As Ronnie Kasrils explains in the forward it needs to be understood that in the context of repression and consorship, subversive literature has a far greater qualitive impactthan in normal times The appearance of a leaflet or a chalked slogan on a wallcarries a distinct aura of its own It is wonderful that these recruits can at last tell their stories in their own way And they do so with humour and stunning modesty I understand that when most of them were tracked down and invited to a reception at South Africa House in London in 2005, many were utterly astonished to recognise among the throng, old friends and comrades None had spoken It was at this meeting that the book, London Recruits was first mooted The world is richer for it.