Dialect – Secret tales of South Africa’s anti-racist struggle

with editor of new book London Recruits, Ken Keable

plus Jason looks at ATOS assessments and the Black Triangle campaign
>>> Click here to download the MP3 <<< 
 128Kbps, 62mins, 59mb

Read on for the details of this week’s show…

1. Ken Keable discusses the anti-racist struggle and unsung heroes of the war against apartheid.
2. Jason looks at ATOS assessments and the Black Triangle campaign http://blacktrianglecampaign.org/
3. Olivier Griffiths discusses the pros and cons of the ‘Kindle’ technology of electronic books

After the brutal South African security police repression of 1963/66 that decimated the black and white internal political opposition to apartheid, with most of the liberation leaders being jailed, exiled or forced so far underground as to be unable to operate, especially after the loss of the means of being able to print and distribute leaflets and literature, there mysteriously appeared signs that the outlawed ANC (African National Congress) was still in business. The London Recruits had begun their campaign.

Many were recruited, but by no means exclusively, from the ranks of the Young Communist League (YCL) and the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPBG) in London. These brave young men and woman risked their freedom, careers and often their lives to bring hope, belief and motivation to the black and coloured majority population of a country ruled by an evil, white, racist minority.

Banned ANC literature began to circulate through the postal system, posted within South Africa and not from abroad. Huge banners would suddenly unfurl from city rooftops with the slogan “ANC FIGHTS” as leaflets showered the area, often at peak rush hours when the streets were full of black workers coming to and from the townships for work.

Firework type bucket bombs would explode sending hundreds of leaflets into the air at busy public venues, train stations were a favourite. Recorded messages would start blaring out from hidden cassette tape recorders at the same time the leaflets were floating back to earth. The ANC, opposition to the racist regime, was alive and kicking, making a quick comeback against the hated regime. Mostly by the hands of the ‘Recruits’

The security police could not understand it. They were positive they had eradicated the ANC yet here it was, within a matter of weeks, embarrassing and making fools of the police in most of the important South African cities. Also what they did not know was that the sizable South African exile community in London had started to mobilise support for the Anti-Apartheid movement and more importantly for the underground movement at home. However it was not long before the South African security forces had agents trying to infiltrate the Anti-Apartheid movement in London.

I wonder if the owners of the Union Castle Shipping Company have the faintest idea of how many messages were carried by Seaman’s Union members and how much contraband and illicit literature was hidden in the holds of their ships on their weekly sailings from the UK to South Africa? I can assure them it was quite a lot.

White ‘tourists’ from London were smuggling ANC and anti apartheid literature into South Africa by the false bottomed suitcase load, often several on the same flight. The South African authorities assumed that if you were white and did not look like a hippy then you were a natural supporter of their racist system and the suspicion level was very low. As long as these ‘tourists’ and ‘visitors’ spoke, dressed and acted in the right manner they could get away with just about anything. They did! The police were just not psychologically programmed to look at a white person as a ‘subversive’ much less one intent on carrying out ‘criminal’ acts.


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About dialectradio

Dialect Radio was Bristol’s first weekly internet radio show which was originally webcast in 2002. It broadcasts a mixture of local human interest stories along with analysis of community issues from right to housing to radical history.

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