African textiles, £10.99
Diameter: 38.000 mm
Gift of the Anti-Apartheid Movement
Coins and Medals
Badge of the Anti-Apartheid Movement
Great Britain, around AD 1984
A demand for the release from prison of the black resistance leader Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela, a lawyer in Johannesburg, South Africa, was imprisoned in 1964 for political offences. For twenty years he had been a leading figure in the African National Congress (ANC), which was dedicated to overthrowing the racist apartheid policy of the South African government. The international campaign for his release was led in Britain by the Anti-Apartheid Movement, which had been founded in 1959. In the 1980s its membership reached 25,000, and its activities included demonstrations, the staging of a seventieth birthday concert for Mandela in 1988, and the production of badges featuring Mandela's image.
Mandela was released from prison in February 1990, and constitutional reforms were set in motion. In South Africa's first ever non-racial and multi-party elections, held in 1994, the ANC was victorious, and Mandela became the country's president the following year. After the elections of 1999, in which the ANC was again successful, he stepped down from office. From being a symbol of resistance to an oppressive regime, as represented on this badge, he had come to represent dignified statesmanship.
Its work done, the Anti-Apartheid Movement was disbanded in 1994.
P. Attwood, Acquisitions of badges (1983-1, British Museum Occasional Paper 76 (, 1990)