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Background

Apartheid was a system in South Africa that separated people based on their skin colour that lasted from 1948 to 1991. Apartheid discriminated against Black and Brown people and ensured that South Africa was dominated politically, socially, and economically by the nation's dominant minority white population.

Many people in Wales and the United Kingdom disagreed with apartheid and protested when sports teams from South Africa toured around Britain. The protestors tried to disrupt South African cricket and rugby tours mainly - these teams were closed to Black players. People were starting to understand the awful truth of apartheid - however the sporting world was not listening. During the South African Rugby tour of 1969 there had been protesting apartheid at various grounds, but one of the largest demonstrations was seen on the 15th of November at St Helens, Swansea. The clash between protesters and the police became brutal, with over 100 injured including 11 police officers. 

More information

Questions to discuss

  • What is apartheid?
  • Who was Nelson Mandela?
  • Why were people in Wales protesting against sports teams visiting from South Africa?
  • Who is Peter Hain?
  • Why did Peter Hain receive threatening letters?
  • What happened in Swansea on the 15, November 1969?
  • Why is it known as the Battle of Swansea?
  • How does this demonstration compare with more recent civil rights demonstrations?

Activities

  • Compare rugby teams from South Africa in 1969 and today.
  • Investigate apartheid in South Africa and the role Nelson Mandela played.
  • Investigate anti-apartheid movement in Wales and the UK and their activities.
  • Explore Peter Hain's archive for more insight on what happened during the 'Battle of Swansea'.
  • Watch videos of anti-apartheid protests in Wales.
  • Copy the style of 'Racism is a Poison' poster by Paul Peter Piech.

Learning experiences

(derived from the statements of what matters)

Languages, Literacy and Communication
  • Listening with empathy and respect
  • Listen and understand
  • Understanding perspectives
Expressive Arts
  • Representing personal, social and cultural identities
  • Exploring purpose and meaning
Humanities
  • Social and cultural importance
  • Identity
  • Social similarities and differentiation
  • Understanding human rights
  • Developing paths of enquiry
  • Interpret sources and information
  • Governance systems

Lord Peter Hain's archive

Lord Peter Hain is a former British politician and anti-apartheid activist. He was involved in organising portests against South African cricket and rugby tours. When the protest in Swansea took place in 1969, he was a 19-year-old student anti-racism campaigner. The anti-apartheid protestors were trying to shine a light on the horrors that was going on in South Africa, but not everyone was on their side. As Peter Hain said - "Frankly it was a dialogue with the deaf between anti-apartheid protestors, and players and spectators, We tried to engage with them to say they were collaborators with the most evil and racist system in the world, but they just thought we were interfering with their game - and they really hated us for it." (Lloyd, M. 2019)

Explore items from Peter Hain's archive related to The Battle of Swansea, 1969 and the Anti-Apartheid Movement.


How people in Wales protested apartheid

Artwork

Paul Peter Piech, Racism is a Poison Remember South Africa

Graphic artist and printmaker Paul Peter Piech was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1920, but moved to Wales in the 1980s. Over five decades he produces striking prints relating to social and political themes, combining his characterisitic typography with colourful and bold artwork to create a truly unique style.

Clip from the Wales Broadcast Archive

Case study

The Communities of Wales project has supported Sketty Primary School to learn more about the Battle of Swansea in 1969, their cynefin, and the apartheid system in South Africa. The learners took part in workshops to understand what happened and why there were anti-apartheid protests in Swansea in 1969. Ricardo Erasmus came in to talk to the students about life in South Africa, Nelson Mandela and the spirit of Ubuntu. Lord Peter Hain archive was used to investigate the event and he also visited the school himself to do a question and answer session with the learners. They finished the project workshop with artists Keith Bayliss and Sarah Hopkins, who led printmaking sessions emulating Paul Peter Piech style and message - Racism is a Poison.