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London Recruits: The Secret War Against Apartheid

Updated on February 6, 2020

London Recruits: The Secret War Against Apartheid went on general release in 2012. It is a collection of short accounts by heroic people who played a vital role in the South African liberation movement.

An amazing collection of real life stories about young men and women’s bravery.

This book is important to me on a very personal level because my husband, Graeme Whyte wrote one of the stories.

After the Rivonia trial in 1963 – 64 and Nelson Mandela’s imprisonment, young white volunteers went into South Africa on secret missions for the banned ANC. These London recruits were able to move around freely simply because they where white, and took huge personal risks to help end that vicious regime of racial oppression.

They were recruited by Ronnie Kasrils who had escaped capture when they arrested Nelson Mandela and others, by hiding under the floorboards. He fled to London where he worked under-cover.

For security reasons, and their own safety, these men and women had to keep their acts of bravery a secret for over 40 years! Now they are free to tell their incredible stories and London Recruits: The Secret War Against Apartheid is on sale widely. They recently toured the book in South Africa where they were hailed as heroes, and appeared on national TV.

Ronnie Kasrils

Great News -They're Making a Film!

We are very excited to announce that a film about the London Recruits is being made now. The film makers have been very busy filming on location and have been extremely successful at fundraising for the film. It is due to be ready in 2020.

Here's a homemade video of my husband, Graeme, talking about his story and showing his suitcase. He was being filmed by his nephew who was hearing all this for the first time!

A London Recruit

I am very proud that my husband was one of the recruits. He went to South Africa in 1971 when he was only 20 years old. His mission was to go to Durban with a false-bottomed suitcase containing leaflets and firework-type explosive devices. He stayed in a hotel and constructed leaflet bombs. Then, at a predetermined day and time, he detonated 6 of them in the black areas of Durban throwing thousands of leaflets into the air. Other recruits did the same in all the big cities on the same day at the same time.

The response was tremendous! Black people pounced on the leaflets and the police could not stop them grabbing them and taking them out to the townships.

The leaflets spoke of hope, and their purpose was to keep the struggle alive. They spread the word that South Africa’s black people had not been abandoned, the ANC (African National Congress) was alive and fighting, and that the struggle would continue. It called on them to remember Nelson Mandela and their other imprisoned leaders and keep positive even in the face of such bitter repression. These acts of defiance helped changed the course of South Africa’s history!

London Recruits: The Secret War Against Apartheid is an amazing read – it is gripping because it looks retrospectively at who the recruits were and why they were so willing to risk life and limb for people of another country. They gained nothing personally, and were sworn to secrecy for a staggering 40 years! My husband’s father was never told and his mother was 85 when she read his story.

I highly recommend this book for two reasons, it is a fascinating read about recent history, and all proceeds go to the Nelson Mandela’s Children Fund.

Thanks very much for reading my review.

Graeme is saying goodbye to his suitcase. It was taken back to South Africa and put in the Lilliesleaf Museum, Rivonia, which was the secret headquarters of the ANC and the place where Nelson Mandela was arrested.

Here is Ronnie Kasrils talking about how he operated and recruited the London Recruits.

Click Here to visit our website where you can learn more about the stories of the London Recruits.

Photo Gallery

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Apartheid Sign English and AfrikaansDurban Sign 1989Non-Whites Only Bench Outside High Court Civil Annex CTBoycott Apartheid Bus London 1989
Apartheid Sign English and Afrikaans
Apartheid Sign English and Afrikaans
Durban Sign 1989
Durban Sign 1989
Non-Whites Only Bench Outside High Court Civil Annex CT
Non-Whites Only Bench Outside High Court Civil Annex CT
Boycott Apartheid Bus London 1989
Boycott Apartheid Bus London 1989

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2013 Giovanna

Thank you so much for your visit. Please do leave a comment.

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    • Adventuretravels profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from UK

      Thank you so much. All proceeds go to the Nelson Mandela children's fund. Thanks for your visit.

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 

      6 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      Fascinating! I had no idea you and your husband were involved with that. I pinned this to my non-fiction board at Pinterest and will spread it around to some group boards I belong to.

    • Adventuretravels profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from UK

      @Brite-Ideas: Thank you I'll tell him him your visited he will be very appreciative of your kind words.

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 

      6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Congratulations to your husband are certainly in order here! How wonderful to be honored for his bravery and commitment - you both must be very proud

    • Adventuretravels profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from UK

      @SteveKaye: You're very right Steve. Thanks very much for your visit and comment. `i shall show it to Graeme.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Brave people like this are the ones who make the world better for everyone. Congratulations and thank you.

    • Adventuretravels profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from UK

      @SusanDeppner: I am so very proud to share this book with everyone. Thanks very much indeed for your visit. Please share with your network as all proceeds go to the Nelson Mandela Children's fund. Thanks again.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      7 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Quite a family connection, to say the least. Thanks for sharing the book and your husband's story!

    • Adventuretravels profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from UK

      @ecogranny: Thank you so much for your very kind words. Graeme will be touched when he reads them. He kept this a secret for 40 years and things couldn't be more public since the book launch last year! We are going to the House of Commons in London on Monday to celebrate the bravery of all the London Recruits. He won a trophy in a Local Hero award under the category Outstanding Bravery. He has been giving special classes to upper school students. The response has been amazing! Thank you.

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      I am deeply grateful to find this page today. I cannot wait to get the book and learn more about the bravery of these individuals who risked so much for others with no hope of personal gain or reward, other than knowing they had helped to save lives and change one very evil part of the world for the better. Thank you for sharing it. Please convey my deep gratitude to your husband for his service and for his generous heart.

    • Adventuretravels profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from UK

      @sousababy: I am very proud of my husband because he risked everything to help people he had absolutely no personal connection with. He did it to make the world a better place - that struggle isn't over yet! We are very sad day today, RIP Nelson Mandela.Thank you for visiting and for leaving your very kind message.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great message here - thank you for creating this page.


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