The AAM started in 1959 under the name The Boycott Movement Committee. It changed its name to AAM in 1960 after the Sharpeville massacre to become a permanent organisation. It grew into one of the biggest anti-apartheid organisations in the world with committees covering specific subjects and branches all over the UK. It was a member of the European Liaison Group. It was often the fore-runner and initiator of international campaigns and worked closely with the ANC and UN agencies. It dissolved itself in 1995 to continue as Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA).
Christian Concern for Southern Africa (CCSA) was founded in 1972 as an interdenominational Christian body concerned with raising awareness of the political situation in South Africa and to co-ordinate the response of British Churches. In particular, the involvement of oil companies was targeted leading to the establishment of the Oil Working Group in 1979. The organisation also worked towards sanctions against South Africa, and provided an Ethical Investment Research Service. It was dissolved in 1993.
In 1983 the Ethical Investment Research Service (EIRIS) was founded as a socially responsible investment (SRI) research house with a purview extending beyond its national boundaries in the United Kingdom. EIRIS was first established by a group of British churches and charities, including Christian Concern for Southern Africa, who needed information to put their principles into practice regarding their investments. At that time, they were particularly keen on understanding more about what British companies were doing to alleviate the situation in apartheid South Africa.
Liberation started in 1954 as the Movement for Colonial Freedom (MCF) and changed its name in 1970 to Liberation. Its mission was to work towards the political freeing of colonial peoples and political independence. It worked with trade unions and the labour party, supported the AAM, War on Want and other organisations. It did a lot of educational work, organised public meetings and conferences, and lobbied government. It dissolved in 1997.
Hannah Stanton was a missionary and anti-apartheid activist who worked in South Africa and the UK. Following the increased violence and activities of the South African police, culminating in the Sharpeville Massacre of 21 March 1960, she found herself under surveillance. On 30 March 1960 she was arrested and held without charge, and without access to a lawyer until 21 May 1960, when she was deported to the UK. During this time she was held at Pretoria Central Gaol, where she shared a cell with Helen Joseph. After her deportation she became involved in various anti-apartheid campaigns, including those of the AAM.
Christian Aid was instrumental in galvanising anti-apartheid efforts in the UK. Director Rev. Michael Taylor drove the creation of the Southern Africa Coalition in the 1980s, which brought together trade unions, church groups and others to press the British government to help end apartheid. The organisation started as Christian Reconstruction in Europe shortly after World War II. It became a department of the British Council of Churches, and was eventually renamed the Department of Interchurch Aid and Refugee Service. It was renamed Christian Aid in 1964.
The Oil Working Group was created in 1980 by War on Want, the Methodist Church Overseas Division and the United Reform Church to raise the issue of illegal oil exports to Southern Africa. They lobbied oil companies, raised questions at annual general meetings, undertook research and publicised their findings. The group was renamed Embargo in 1985 and ELTSA took over its administration. Embargo functioned until 1993.