London Recruits: how a story of anti-apartheid activism can serve teachers today

FORUM - ISSN 0963-8253
Volume 63 Number 2 (2021)

London Recruits: how a story of anti-apartheid activism can serve teachers today
Steve Marsling, Chris Smith pages 141-147
DOI: 10.3898/forum.2021.63.2.12


This year sees the release of London Recruits, a film chronicling the anti-apartheid activism of young men and women volunteers who, from 1967, travelled from the UK to South Africa. The recruits were invaluable to the campaigning work of the African National Congress and the wider international anti-apartheid movement because as white tourists, which is all the South African authorities saw them as, they were free to travel unmonitored in ways impossible for black citizens. To coincide with the release of the film, an education pack, comprising the testimonies of the recruits as well as other source material, has been compiled for use in schools. The pack was funded bythe National Education Union and coordinated by Steve Marsling, a former recruit, who writes the opening section of this article. Chris Smith, who writes the rest of the article, was a serving history and politics teacher at the time of writing this article. He helped provide learning activities and exemplar lesson plans so teachers can straightforwardly make use of the pack in their classrooms. Work to create these educational resources started just before the upsurge of Black Lives Matter campaigning in the UK sparked calls for ‘decolonising the curriculum’. It is hoped this pack shares and complements that goal. As the story of the recruits makes clear, there have always been those who have needed to resort to direct action to have their voices fairly heard. Institutional racism is an undeniable feature of life in all nations whose pasts are closely entwined with imperialism. It is hoped this pack will form part of the continuing work in our schools to teach a more diverse curriculum, not only in subjects such as history, but also in citizenship, creative arts and even during pastoral time. Teachers are struggling with unprecedented and seemingly endless demands: may this pack help them tell a story that until now had been largely untold

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To cite this article
Steve Marsling, Chris Smith (2021) London Recruits: how a story of anti-apartheid activism can serve teachers today, FORUM, 63(2), 141-147.

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