Open main menu

1982 bombing of the African National Congress headquarters in London

The London offices of the African National Congress (ANC) were wrecked by an 11-kilogram (24 lb) bomb which exploded against the rear wall at 9 am on 14 March 1982. Windows up to 400 yards away were broken. Caretaker Vernet Mbatha, an ANC voluntary worker, who was sleeping in a flat above the offices, was injured.[1] Significant damage was caused to buildings on White Lion Street and Penton Street, where the office was located. The offices served as the ANC's headquarters in exile since the 1960s.[2]

1982 bombing of the African National Congress headquarters in London
LocationIslington, London, United Kingdom
Date14 March 1982
09:00 (UTC)
Attack type
Non-fatal injuries
PerpetratorSouth African Security Police

Anti-apartheid activists blamed the South African government. The decision to bomb the office was made following ANC attacks in South Africa, including a rocket attack on the Voortrekkerhoogte military base in August 1981.[3] It was also to demonstrate South Africa's displeasure with the British government.[4] The property was repaired and was the ANC's base until Nelson Mandela's election as South African president in 1994.

General Johann Coetzee, former head of the South African security police, and eight other South African policemen, admitted to the attack at an amnesty hearing of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Pretoria in September 1998.[5] Coetzee claimed the "symbolic attack" was ordered by the National Party government of the time.[6]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Davies, Nick (15 March 2013). "From the archive, 15 March 1982: Bomb blast at ANC London office". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
  2. ^ Morris, James. "'Islington's 1982 Blitz': The story of when secret agents bombed ANC offices in Penton Street".
  3. ^ sahoboss (16 March 2011). "Voortrekkerhoogte military base is attacked".
  4. ^ "This day in history: ANC London office bombed - SA Breaking News". 14 March 2017.
  5. ^ McGreal, Chris (16 October 1999). "Amnesty for bombers who blasted London ANC office". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
  6. ^ Hossack, Colin (8 September 1998). "South Africa: Nat government ordered bombing of ANC London office" – via AllAfrica.