London Recruits


London Recruits poster with image of Peter Smith, aged 24.


London Recruits – the secret war against apartheid, by Lee Gordon.

This article was published in Spanish on 4 May 2014 in Artilleria, a weekly supplement to Correo del Orinoco (The Orinoco Post), a Venezuelan newspaper founded by Hugo Chavez. Lee Gordon is a British journalist who works for Correo del Orinoco.
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New honour for London Recruits

The South African Communist Party, at its congress in Boksburg, (...) honoured the London Recruits with its Special Recognition Award. Ken Keable went to the congress, as a guest, to accept the award on behalf of all the Recruits and was introduced by Ronnie Kasrils.

Here is the text of his speech
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Newham Teachers' Association offers its thanks to The Morning Star for the use of its London Recruits article 14/08/2017

The NTA has a webpage for the London Recruits on this website:
London Recruits Film - Trailer

Brilliant feature film coming soon. The sensational story of the young women and men who undertook missions for the ANC during the bleakest years of the apartheid regime.
The latest trailer video from the London Recruits Film Team:

Newham Teachers' Association, the NUT and the TUC have all supported the production of this film through publicity and donations.
Peter Smith, NTA Secretary, was a London Recruit.

View more about the film here.

The original website from the London Recruits themselves is here.

You can support the London Recruits production here.

A new story has been added to the London Recruits website.

SERTUC Appeals for Funding for "London Recruits" film

"London Recruits – an anti-apartheid story
Funding required… The inspirational story of the women and men who joined the struggle against apartheid, London Recruits is a film that trade unionists as well as union branches and regions can help bring to the big screen. Full info here "
London Recruits Logo
London Recruits


Recent News:

Christine Blower, former NUT General Secretary, has issued a video supporting the London Recruits film project:
 Christine Blower and the London Recruits from London Recruits on Vimeo. Please encourage your colleagues and other NUT Associations to donate to the project.
Recent news:
Trade Union backing for London Recruits
Frances O'Grady, TUC General Secretary, and Christine Blower, NUT General Secretary have joined other prominent trade unionists from the UK movement to explain their support for the London Recruits film and show why it is vital to bring this story to the big screen.

 Trade Union backing for London Recruits from London Recruits on Vimeo. See to help make this movie happen in 2016.
London Recruits - The group of London based anti-apartheid activists who helped bring about the reform of South Africa during clandestine operations in that country. Peter Smith, NTA Secretary, was amongst those activists and his participation was recognised by the new democratic government. So Newham Teachers' Association has a special interest in the London Recruits.
The history of the Anti-Apartheid movement brings up images of boycotts and public campaigns in the UK. But another story went on behind the scenes, in secret, one that has been never told before. UK Activists who participated in this hidden struggle became known as the The London Recruits. A book recalling their exploits has been published. Royalties from this book will go to The Nelson Mandela Children's Fund.
You can buy the book from Bookmarks Bookshop or leading booksellers. It is also available through the London Recruits website.
London Recruits Book Jacket
London Recruits Book Jacket
Now a film is to be produced. The NUT nationally is supporting the production of the film, as is the TUC. Christine Blower, NUT General Secretary, said:
 "As anyone who has read “London Recruits; THE SECRET WAR AGAINST APARTHEID” will know, the London Recruits played an important role in the eventual overthrow of Apartheid. The world was a very different place in the 1970s. These recruits had to be on the ground engaging in activities which could at the very least have cost them their freedom but for whom the politics of liberation and social justice drove them into action. The National Union of Teachers is very proud to have made a financial contribution of £5000 to the project to turn the book into a film. The campaign video is now made. The Union would encourage everyone to see it. We also look forward to the next stage of the film being completed."
The NTA has also donated to the Kickstarter fund set up to bring the film to the production stage. The Association sends special thanks to individual members who contributed.
Barefoot Rascals is the film company behind the project. It has strong links with the Trade Union movement. Its spokesperson said:
"We have raised seed development funding from Ffilm Cymru Wales and received support from trade unions in the UK. Those unions were at the forefront of the international struggle against apartheid with their members playing a crucial role in solidarity work. We have carried out initial research and interviews but rely upon an injection of fresh funding to bring us into production. We appreciate the story will have wide appeal to a generation who participated in the anti apartheid movement alongside a new generation that draws inspiration from it." £41,050 has been raised through Kickstarter funding.
Peter Smith, Newham Teachers' Association Divisional Secretary, worked with the London Recruits campaign to ensure that the film's Kickstarter funding target was met. Meanwhile he attended a reception at the Cuban Embassy to present a copy of the London Recruits book to the Cuban Ambassador, Her Excellency Teresita Vincente, as a way of thanking the Cuban government and people for the training that he received in Cuba. He made the presentation on 29 June 2015 at the Ambassador’s residence in St John’s Wood, London, at a reception arranged by the Cuba Solidarity Campaign. She was very pleased to receive the book, with a broad smile on reading the back cover.
Page 181:
 So how does someone from simple working class life as a youth, leaving Southampton at the age of nineteen, find himself, at the age of thirty-nine, on the other side of the Equator, lying on their belly on the cool sand of the Botswana desert at night, staring at small white pairs of shinning eyes on the other side of the border fence separating Botswana from South Africa, pointing a fully loaded AK-47, waiting for the return of Ronnie Kasrils on the South African side of that fence?
Teresita_Vincente, Cuban Ambassador, & Peter Smith, Newham Teachers' Association, at presentation of London Recruits book
Teresita_Vincente, Cuban Ambassador, & Peter Smith, Newham Teachers’ Association, at presentation of London Recruits book (Thanks to for use of photo)
Postscript: The film production team are now busy interviewing the London Recruits, sifting through archival material and shaping what we know will be a thrilling watch. Outreach work, across youth groups and trade unions to solidarity networks and film societies, continues. Ensuring as wide an audience as possible can see this inspirational story is a key goal in preparing the film for release.  The NTA encourages members to spread the word.