Youth Activism and Solidarity: The non-stop picket against Apartheid, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Youth Activism and Solidarity

The non-stop picket against Apartheid, 1st Edition

By Gavin Brown, Helen Yaffe


244 pages | 10 B/W Illus.

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From April 1986 until just after Nelson Mandela’s release from prison in February 1990, supporters of the City of London Anti-Apartheid Group maintained a continuous protest, day and night, outside the South African Embassy in central London. This book examines how and why a group of children, teenagers and young adults made themselves ‘non-stop against apartheid’, creating one of the most visible expressions of anti-apartheid solidarity in Britain.

Drawing on interviews with over ninety former participants in the Non-Stop Picket of the South African Embassy and extensive archival research using previously unstudied documents, this book offers new insights to the study of social movements and young people’s lives. It theorises solidarity and the processes of adolescent development as social practices to provide a theoretically-informed, argument-led analysis of how young activists build and practice solidarity.

Youth Activism and Solidarity: The Non-Stop Picket Against Apartheid will be of interest to geographers, historians and a wide range of other social scientists concerned with the historical geography of the international anti-apartheid movement, social movement studies, contemporary British history, and young people’s activism and geopolitical agency.


'The book provides a detailed account of the activity of the non-stop picket, from the comparatively large-scale or spectacular events,to the “mundane, possibly boring, aspects of political activism. Part of the importance of Youth Activism and Solidarity is that the care and detail with which the non-stop picket is recounted gives those of us who were not there a real sense of what it was like, allowing us to learn some of the lessons of that campaign and, hopefully, to more effectively and equitably organise solidarity in new contexts.'

Diarmaid Kelliher, Antipode, January 2018

Table of Contents

1. South Africa and Britain in the 1980s

2. A non-stop protest in a non-stop world

3. Becoming non-stop

4. Being non-stop against apartheid

5. Defending the right to protest

6. Being unruly

7: Growing up through protest

8. ‘Until Mandela is free…’

9. Lessons and reflections

About the Authors

Gavin Brownis an Associate Professor in the School of Geography, Geology and the Environment at the University of Leicester, UK. He is a cultural, historical and political geographer with an interest in protest movements, solidarity, and the geopolitics of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Helen Yaffe is a Lecturer in Economic and Social History at the University of Glasgow. She has focussed on Cuban economic history, political economy, Latin American development and the history of economics.

About the Series

Routledge Spaces of Childhood and Youth Series

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Earth Sciences / Geography
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Human Geography