With this simple appeal the Boycott Movement was founded in Britain in 1959, with the aim of supporting non whites in South Africa. A year later the shocking events at Sharpville, where 69 unarmed protesters were shot dead by South African police, intensified emotions and the renamed Anti Apartheid Movement (AMM) stepped up its action from a simple consumer boycott to campaigning for full economic sanctions and the complete isolation of apartheid South Africa.
From students to celebrities, trade unionists to religious leaders, Labour to the Communist party, the cause gained widespread support.
In truth, the UK was South Africa's largest foreign investor and South Africa was the UK’s third biggest export market. Even Labour party support dissipated after their sweep to power in 1964 when Harold Wilson declared trade sanctions "would harm the people we are most concerned about - the Africans and those white South Africans who are having to maintain some standard of decency there".
However, the AMM scored several major victories including the expulsion of South Africa from the Commonwealth in 1961.
One of the most controversial battlegrounds was played out on the sports fields from lawn tennis championships to rugby internationals. Campaigns like the 'Stop the Seventy Tour', set up to stop the tour of the South African Cricket Team to England, meant frequent clashes with police.
After the AMM succeeded in geting their suspension from Tokyo in 1964, South Africa was finally expelled from the Olympics in 1970.
Curator — Sarah McDonald, Getty Images
Photographers — Central Press, Express Newspapers, Fox Photos, Keystone Press, Steve Eason