When the members of the City of London Anti-Apartheid Group stood for four years outside South Africa House in the 1980s communications with South Africa could be tricky. The South African government’s censorship meant that news of anti-apartheid protests in Britain was seldom reported in South Africa. Before the internet, most communication with anti-apartheid activists inside South Africa had to be conducted by (carefully worded) letters.
In the days after Nelson Mandela’s death, one South African friend of the Non-Stop Picket enabled former City Group members to show their respects to Madiba in South Africa. As a child, in the ’80s, Razia stayed in South Africa while her father spent a year in London associated with the Non-Stop Picket. She was excited to receive letters from London with news about the Picket and its many characters. A quarter of a century later, and with the aid of the internet, she helped print a poster designed by former Non-Stop Picketers, and leave it among the piles of tributes outside Mandela’s Houghton home.
Copies of the same image were also placed on the gates of the South African Embassy in London and at the foot of Mandela’s statue in Parliament Square. A tangible memory of the Non-Stop Picket and a tangible link between London and Johannesburg.