Help to tell the London recruits’ story of fighting apartheid

London trade unionists ran clandestine missions to South Africa to help the fight against apartheid – and now you can help get their story told on screen

In the 1960s and ’70s, volunteers from London travelled to South Africa to help the struggle against apartheid – and now UNISON branches can help spread the remarkable story of the London Recruits.

Many of those volunteers were trade unionists – including members of UNISON’s founding unions, Nalgo, Nupe and Cohse – and they took advantage of the apartheid regime’s belief that white people were superior to help the liberation struggle.

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis is urging union members and anyone else to help fund this “remarkable story of ordinary young men and women risking their own lives for the freedom of South Africans.”

The stories of their efforts – from carrying money belts into the country to help fund the struggle, to setting off recorded messages and leaflet bombs at stations – remained secret until the early 2000s, but a film about them is set to be released next year.

And it is that film that you can help to fund.

UNISON is “still an internationalist union and still working with South African trade unions to fight the legacy of apartheid,” says Mr Prentis.

“It’s time that we celebrate the London Recruits and remember our history to give us inspiration to face the struggles that we now face.”

You can find out about the appeal – and how to donate – at

Watch Dave Prentis’s message here:

And to read a blog about the Nalgo members who joined the London Recruits, click here.

To learn more about UNISON’s international work, visit