Bristol ACTSA (Action for Southern Africa) campaigns for peace, justice and solidarity for and with the peoples of Southern Africa.

Established in 1995 as the successor to the Bristol Anti-Apartheid Movement (AAM), it has campaigned on a number of issues to help build democracy and development across the region. It also fundraises to support a number of projects in Southern Africa.

About Bristol ACTSA

Following the first democratic elections in South Africa in 1994 the Anti-Apartheid Movement (AAM) was wound up. However, many activists wanted a successor organisation to continue campaigning to overcome the legacies of apartheid in South Africa and to support peace, democracy, and reconstruction and development in other countries in Southern Africa. In October 1994 ACTSA (Action for Southern Africa) was launched as national organisation and successor to the AAM.

Bristol ACTSA (Action for Southern Africa) was subsequently established in March 1995 as a local group and is affiliated to ACTSA nationally. It is supported by local members (both individual and family members), local affiliates (mostly trade union branches) and supporters. Some local members are as individual members of the national organisations.

Bristol ACTSA is a democratic organisation with its own constitution (should this go here or under reports & newsletters) whose sovereign body is its Annual General Meeting (AGM) which meets each year in March. The AGM, which is open to all members and affiliates, decides upon the strategy for the coming year and elects its Executive Committee (EC). The EC meets bi-monthly to help turn aspirations into actions by overseeing the organisation’s political and campaigning direction and its finances. Bristol ACTSA does not have a local office or employ any staff.

The organisation works with local partners – other local NGOs and organisations and local trade union branches – both on local campaigns and to support ACTSA’s national campaigns. In doing so it seeks to raise awareness of issues to influence decision-makers locally, nationally, and within Europe. It has developed links with civil society groups and projects in Southern Africa. Bristol ACTSA also supports the work of our sister organisation SARC (Southern Africa Resource Centre), which facilitates the link between Bristol and Beira, Mozambique.

History

Since 1995 Bristol ACTSA has campaigned on a number of issues. These include:

Campaigns and Projects

  • Bristol ACTSA’s main fundraising event is its annual ‘Walk for Southern Africa’. This was initially set up in 1980 as the Soweto Walk by Jacky Carter who brought the idea with her from Southampton.
  • The Soweto Walk commemorated the schoolchildren who were killed in the Soweto Uprising in South Africa in 1976. It raised funds for the Anti-Apartheid Movement (both locally and nationally), the ANC, and the Solomon Mahlangu Freedom College established by the ANC in Tanzania. At its height, the Soweto Walk saw as many as 300 walkers completing the 10 mile circular route from Priddy Village Hall raising many thousands of pounds for the struggle against apartheid.

    In 1995 the walk became the ‘Walk for Southern Africa’ reflecting ACTSA’s change of focus from South to Southern Africa and raised funds for a variety of projects across the region. It is still held in June on the closest Sunday to 16th (the start of the Soweto Uprising) but is now 10 km (6.2 miles) rather than 10 miles. And, instead of operating from the Village Hall the organisation has reverted back to Pound Cottage, Jacky Carter and Bevis Miller’s home.

    In 2007, 40 walkers ranging from 5 years of age and upwards completed the 10km and, in the process, raised over £3,000 for projects in Angola, Mozambique, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. The 2008 Walk will take place on Sunday 17th June and will be part of the celebrations to mark Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday.