African countries have played an enormous role in the anti-apartheid struggle. Many countries suffered directly or indirectly from the apartheid regime and felt the consequences of their support to the liberation movements on their own soil.  African countries and their organisations have been crucial in pressurising the UN and other international bodies in condemning apartheid and supporting the liberation struggle.

Unfortunately, we have not managed to locate archives witnessing this history and are therefore only able to describe the two organisations below.

Anti-Apartheid Organisations/People

Organisation of African Union (OAU) - Liberation Committee

The OAU was founded in 1963 to work towards unity and solidarity amongst African countries and act as a collective voice for the African continent. It worked towards the eradication of all forms of colonialism.  The Co-ordinating Committee for the Liberation of Africa (Liberation Committee) organised diplomatic support and channelled financial, military and logistical aid to liberation movements. The OAU was disbanded in 2002 and replaced by the African Union (AU).

The archives are held by the organisation.

Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC)

The SADCC was formed in 1980. It developed out of the Frontline States, an alliance of countries in Southern Africa formed in 1970, to aid the liberation movements in South Africa and Namibia and to form a front against apartheid. Some of the main goals of the SADCC were to lessen the dependency on apartheid South Africa and to introduce programmes and projects which would influence the Southern African countries and whole region. It was renamed Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) in 1992.

The SADC holds the archives of the organisation.


Historical Papers

The Historical Papers, located at the William Cullen Library, University of the Witwatersrand, holds many collections of historical, political and cultural importance. Within these collections are materials relating to the international AAMs.

Institute for Security Studies (ISS)

The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) has worked with the OAU and, amongst others, released a CD –ROM containing all OAU Council of Ministers and Summit decisions, declarations and commitments from 1963 to 2001. The CD also contains the key documents for the following regional organisations: SADC, ECOWAS, IGAD and COMESA. It is a work in progress, and will be updated with documents from other sub-regional organisations and more recent documentation, as it becomes available.

Liberation Archive

The Liberation Archive at the University of Fort Hare holds the archives of the ANC – Foreign Missions, Azania People’s Organisation, Black Consciousness Movement, PAC- Foreign Missions, SACP and SOMAFCO as well as personal papers of a number of individuals. These archives contain a wealth of information on the international AAMs and organisations as well.

South African History Archive (SAHA)

SAHA is a human rights archive located at the University of the Witwatersrand. The Struggles for Justice Programme, although mainly concentrating on South African organisations and people, also contains materials of international AAMs.

University of the Western Cape (UWC) / RIM Mayibuye Archives

The archives of the Robben Island Museum are housed at and managed by the UWC/RIM Mayibuye Archives. Some are located on the island but the bulk is at the UWC Campus in Belville, Cape Town. They consist of a huge collection of artefacts, documents, photographs, art works, personal papers and audio-visual materials. Although the emphasis is on South African organisations and people, many AAMs (national and international) and other international organisations are represented in the collection. The IDAF deposited its entire archive to the Archive.