John O’Malley and Joy Leman

Ken Keable writes: I am delighted to publish this article that John O’Malley sent me in November 2013. It is written by John O’Malley with amendments by Joy Leman. At the time the book was published, in February 2012, I had never heard of either of them. I know that there are many other unknown Recruits still out there and I would be delighted to publish their stories on this website.
John and Joy arrived in South Africa on 19 January 1973 and left on 1 February.

London Recruits

Read more: John O’Malley and Joy Leman

ANC leaflet used in August 1970

Here is the leaflet that the London Recruits distributed inside South Africa in August 1970. Ron Bell brought it back with him after he and his brother Tom distributed a few thousand copies, using leaflet bombs, in Cape Town, at the same time as other London Recruits were doing the same in Johannesburg, Durban, Port Elizabeth and East London.

It is the only copy that survives, and when Ron remembered that he had it and realised its importance, he sent it (via his brother) to the Liliesleaf Farm Museum at Rivonia, near Johannesburg, which is developing a special section devoted to the story of the London Recruits. The leaflet used very thin paper and we are grateful to the museum for sending us this good-quality digitised copy of this inspiring and historic document.

ANC leaflet used in August 1970

Peter Frost reveals where those ANC leaflets were printed

This article by journalist Peter Frost reveals where some, at least, of the leaflets that we London Recruits smuggled into apartheid South Africa were printed.

Send us printer’s ink.

Peter Frost takes a walk back into communist history and gets some ink on his fingers.

“Send us printer’s ink, we do not know how to get it” wrote Lenin in 1901.

Lenin always understood that however wise and politically important the message you needed printers to get it over to the people who mattered – the working class.

It’s not a very inspiring place, the scruffy trading estate behind Watford Junction Railway Station. When it was built, however, it must have had very high expectations. The developers picked some grand names to reflect Britain’s Royal heritage and their pride in Empire.

Read more: Peter Frost reveals where those ANC leaflets were printed

Mary Chamberlain - update

Mary Chamberlain @ Carey HarrisonWhen the Editor first came into contact with Mary Chamberlain (via Ronnie Kasrils) in 2010, the book was regarded as finished and he was looking for a publisher. In haste, Mary wrote a short account of what she had done as a London Recruit and space was found for it in the book. However, since publication she has written this much fuller (and funnier) account that includes her more general comments as well. The article was first published in History Workshop Journal 74, Spring 2013 and we are grateful for their permission to re-publish it here.

The ANC’s London Recruits: a Personal Story

by Mary Chamberlain

Oxford Brookes This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Let me start with the context. By 1966, the apartheid regime in South Africa had all but annihilated the African National Congress (ANC). They had wrecked its presses and rendered its organization inoperable Its leaders had been executed or imprisoned, or were in exile. Some leaders, along with some supporters, had fled to Tanzania or Zambia. But a great many of them, including Joe Slovo, Yusuf Dadoo and Ronnie Kasrils, ended up in London, the metropolitan heart of the rapidly disintegrating Empire. They set up shop in Fitzrovia as the ANC in exile, in alliance with the South African Communist Party (SACP), not far from the offices of the Anti-Apartheid Movement in Charlotte Street.

Read more: Mary Chamberlain - update

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