When London became the recruiting centre in the battle against apartheid

This article by Ken Keable appeared in the Guardian "Comment is free" section on 24th August 2012.

After Nelson Mandela and other leaders of the African National Congress were jailed in 1964, almost all ANC members who were not in prison or under severe internal restriction had to go into exile to evade arrest and torture.

Once out of immediate danger, they then had another problem: how could they continue the struggle against the apartheid regime? How could they show the people that the ANC was not defeated? The ANC's four-man London leadership found an answer. They began recruiting young, white, non-South African men and women, unknown to the regime, who could enter South Africa without arousing suspicion. I was one of those London recruits.

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Re-living the South African struggle in London

Re-living the South African struggle in London. Danny Schechter wrote this article in the Epoch Times about the meeting organised in 2012 by several Recruits who were alumni of the London School of Economics. The LSE authorities were supportive at first but the promised support never materialised, for reasons that have never been explained.


LONDON—Thomas Wolfe wrote “You Can’t Go Home Again” years ago, and its core truth keeps popping up in my life even as I tend to retrace some of my life journeys, in an endless walk down memory lane.

I am back in London, as cold and wet as I remember it, to attend an event honoring those of us at my mid 1960s alma mater, The London School of Economics and Political Science, who went to South Africa on underground missions. I was on the political side of the college’s split personality back in 1966–1968.

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Prisoner of Mandela: How I was "captured" By His Movement


The only American we know of among the Recruits was Danny Schechter from the Bronx, who went to study at the London School of Economics after being active in the US civil rights movement. At the LSE, Ronnie Kasrils recruited him to go to Durban on the very first action of the London Recruits, in the summer of 1967. Danny wrote this article for the Huffington Post in 2012.


Cape Town, South Africa: Nelson Mandela was released from prison 22 years ago. He has been "free" ever since. At the same time, I sometimes feel as if I became his prisoner--imprisoned by the work I have been doing enthusiastically in service to the struggle he led ever since the mid 1960's.

Read more: Prisoner of Mandela: How I was "captured" By His Movement

Ronnie Kasrils tour of London

This article by Mike Pentelow is reproduced by kind permission of Fitzrovia News, who published it in September 2012.

London's most secret address in the clandestine war against apartheid has been revealed by Ronnie Kasrils, who organised the smuggling of material into South Africa in the 1960s and 70s.

The address was 25 Newman Street, W1 (near the corner of a back alley, Newman Passage, which leads through to Rathbone Street) which he revisited on a guided walk around Goodge Street on July 7.

It was here that he trained anti-apartheid activists how to smuggle in leaflets in false bottomed suitcases, and make explosive devices to scatter them into the air in South Africa.

Read more: Ronnie Kasrils tour of London

Trial of the Pretoria six

In Pretoria Supreme Court on 20 June 1973 four South Africans and two white foreigners were sentenced to a total of seventy-seven years’ imprisonment for offences under the Terrorism Act. Theophilus Cholo (aged 24), Gardner Kitchener Sejaka (30), Justus Mpanza (34) and Petrus Aaron Mtembu (37) were each sentenced to fifteen years’ imprisonment; Alexandre Moumbaris (34), a naturalized Australian, to twelve years; and Sean Hosey (23), an Irish citizen, to
five years.

The indictment contained a total of nineteen charges, in each of which one or more of the accused were named. All, except Hosey, were alleged to have conspired with one another, with the ANC and with twenty-nine other named people to instigate violent revolution in South Africa. They were alleged to have secretly agreed to bring arms, ammunition and explosives into South Africa and to train people in South Africa in ‘warfare and subversion’.In count two Theophilus Cholo, Justus Mpanza, Petrus Mtembu and Gardner Sejaka were alleged to have had military and political training in African countries and in the Soviet Union between 1962 and June 1972.

Read more: Trial of the Pretoria six

This interesting report by the BBC, about the truck used for the "Secret Safari" arms smuggling operation, somehow manages to avoid mentioning that the drivers and tour guides were all white non-South Africans, mostly British people, acting in solidarity with the ANC.

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