The London Recruits included members of the Young Communist League who went to South Africa to fight against apartheid. Find here what apartheid means and what motivated these brave young revolutionaries to risk their own freedom to achieve it for others they had never met.

London Recruit Steve Marsling explains why the Recruits went out to South Africa and what they did there. This was not going to be an easy challenge and some comrades paid the price of heavy jail terms and bravley faced interrogators. We are proud that Steve recently rejoined the Communist Party. 

A popular paperback, the London Recruits – brings their story to a new generation. For years they could not speak about their activity, though after apartheid was broken it became safe to speak out. This superbly written and powerful testimony is available at Merlin Press. 

You can find out more about the Recruits at their own website including work they are currently doing on a school’s education pack. View it here.

London Recruits blockbuster – A new documentary-drama feature film will open at the end of this year, which is about the Recruits and features some of them interviewed for the first time. You can view the trailer below.

Bucket-type leaflet bomb as used by the London Recruits in South African cities from November 1969 onwards. Prototypes were tested in Bristol, in the Somerset countryside, on Hampstead Heath and in Richmond Park. The devices harmed no-one but each distributed hundreds of ANC leaflets high into the air. Sketch by Ken Keable.

You can read here, written by Peter Frost,  an article reproduced from the Morning Star which demonstrates that the Recruits were not the only source of clandestine support given to the freedom struggle of African workers.

Still fighting today – read below the message sent by London recruit Ken Keable to a recent rally in support of the campaign, Black Lives Matter

At a Black Lives Matter rally in Bridgwater (Somerset) 27 June, Cllr Brian Smedley (Labour) kindly read out the following message. The event was linked up with a BLM rally in Bridgwater, Massachusetts.

Message from Mr Ken Keable of Stoke-sub-Hamdon, Somerset.

In 1968, when I was 23 years old, and again in 1970, I was sent into apartheid South Africa to help the African National Congress in its epic struggle against the racist apartheid regime. Together with other young white people, who later became known as the London Recruits, I distributed thousands of illegal ANC leaflets and set up a street broadcast using an amplified cassette player. Our story has been told in my book, London Recruits – the secret war against apartheid, and is now being made into a film.

For medical reasons, I can’t attend today’s rally, but I am with you in spirit.

After all these years, my commitment to anti-racism is undimmed. I am thrilled to see so many people, especially young people, taking to the streets all over the world to fight state racism, to assert that black lives matter and to demand the removal of monuments that honour slave traders and slave owners.

To those who toppled the statue of Edward Colston I say, thank you. To those who want them prosecuted, I say, removing an obscenity is not a crime! There must be a local, national and international campaign of solidarity with anyone who faces prosecution.

Capitalism in Britain was founded on the enslavement of African people. The British capitalist class was up to its neck in the crime of slavery. The royal family invested heavily in the slave trade. The British Empire could not have lasted a single day without official, state-sponsored racist ideology and race discrimination. These are facts that our education system, and our own self-education, must address.

Condemning Britain’s history of slavery and colonialism is not unpatriotic – it is our patriotic duty. We can still be proud of our football, our fish and chips, our scientists, entertainers and athletes whilst condemning racism and those who promote it today.

Racism in Britain is not only the product of history. It is promoted and sustained by powerful forces in British society. These are the monopoly capitalist class, the tax-dodging multi-millionaires, the parasites in the City of London finance houses and those in the media who support them. They need us workers to be divided by race, gender, religion and in every possible way in order to ensure that we do not unite against them. They also need racism to gain public support for their never-ending wars.

To the young people who are here today I say, join a union! Build the unity of the working class! Solidarity forever! Thank you for coming today.