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This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Forced Withdrawal Of South Africa From The Commonwealth

Historic Step Forward In Struggle Against Apartheid

Message from London to the South African people, March 1961

The enforced withdrawal of South Africa from the Commonwealth is a resounding victory for our people, and marks an historic step forward in our struggle against apartheid and for democratic rights.

This is a stunning defeat for Verwoerd and a dismal failure for Macmillan in his frantic attempt to retain Dr. Verwoerd's Government within the Commonwealth by means of tricky manoeuvres both prior to and during the Commonwealth conference.

The Prime Ministers, determined stand is a tribute to their steadfast opposition to racial discrimination, as well as a tribute to the solidarity of the peoples in all their countries with the struggle of the South African masses against apartheid and for freedom.

The world is solidly against Verwoerd's racial policies.

We are now engaged in a campaign - to urge economic sanctions through the United Nations; to call upon workers not to handle South African goods; to press upon the British Government to honour the spirit of the Common wealth conference decision and not have back door trade and other deals with the Verwoerd Government; and to work for world-wide isolation of South Africa in the international field.

This new development opens up vast possibilities for us to make further inroads into the bastion of racialism and white supremacy built by the herrenvolk supporters of Dr. Verwoerd and his Nationalist Party. The people at home must redouble their efforts and work with renewed energy in opposing every facet of Dr. Verwoerd's Government. The Pietermaritzburg All-African Conference deserves every success in its demand for a national convention backed up by mass action for its speedy realisation.

Verwoerd's end is near. The warm rays of Africa's dawn of freedom will soon be felt in our beloved land.

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.