Time is running out for a fundraiser for a film about foreign socialists and communists who were recruited in London and risked their lives to fight apartheid in South Africa. The Kickstarter campaign, which will finance the film ‘London Recruits’, ends on Saturday at midnight.

The film tells the story of those who were recruited, by people involved in the South African and British Communist Parties, to go to South Africa and detonate non-dangerous ‘leaflet bombs’ which distributed information about the African National Congress’s survival to the South African black community. To do this, they risked arrest, torture and even death.

For example, Graeme Whyte and his friend Dennis Walsh went to Durban and pretended to be tourists while scoping out a good site to set off the bombs and reach as many black people as possible. Graeme Whyte has spoken in depth to Bright Green about his experiences and the full conversation will be released as a podcast next week.

At the same time as Graeme and Dennis’s leaflet bombs were exploding, and unbeknownst to them, dozens of other overseas socialists set off similar bombs in other cities across the country.

This simultaneous action made the front pages of South Africa’s newspapers at the time and convinced both the Apartheid elite and the oppressed black population that the African National Congress (who were thought to behind the leaflets) had not been defeated despite most of their leadership being imprisoned or in exile.

Not wanting to dispel this impression, the foreigners who were actually behind the leaflets did not tell anyone about their role, often not even their families, until well after Apartheid had collapsed and decades after their heroic actions.

According to Graeme Whyte, the story started to come out sometime around 2006 and the ‘London Recruits’ film aims to tell this long-buried and inspirational story.

Joe Lo

About Joe Lo

Joe is a freelance journalist and a researcher at Campaign Against Arms Trade. His twitter is @joeloyo.