When 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
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.