30 January 2015

An enthusiastic response to SAHA’s call for struggle t-shirts

Unpacking the donation of t-shirts and textiles from IISH, January 2015SAHA’s open call for struggle t-shirts in July 2014 was met with the generous donation of over 50 t-shirts from Kier Schuringa of the International Institute of Social History (IISH), Barbara Hogan and Lloyd Ross of Shifty Records among others. A wonderful addition to the 350 t-shirts already in the SAHA Ephemera collection (AL2540) these t-shirts will be included in SAHA’s Struggle T-shirt Project, a project aimed at building, consolidating and profiling a substantial archive on the history of struggle t-shirts, to be made available to future generations.

IISH archivist, Kier Schuringa donated a remarkable collection of t-shirts, the majority of which wereCollage of t-shirts from the IISH collection produced by the Dutch Anti-Apartheid Movement, the Holland Committee on Southern Africa and the organisation Broadcasting for Radio Freedom, for solidarity protests held in the 1980s. In addition to the t-shirts donated, Kier also provided SAHA with images in high resolution of all the South African and South Africa related t-shirts in the IISH collection, these were painstakingly photographed by Kier and his partner Maud. He further donated a number of images featuring struggle t-shirts in action, also from the IISH collection.

Barbara Hogan’s contribution largely consists of t-shirts from the United Democratic Front (UDF), Congress of Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the South African Youth Congress (SAYCO).

T-shirt: Cherry Faced Lurchers. Archived in SAHA collection AL2540A call for “Shifty swag” during last year’s Shifty Records Project led to the donation of a number of struggle musician t-shirts. Donated by Lloyd Ross as part of the Shifty Records archive, the t-shirts bear in every sense “the marks of too many late nights at Shifty haunts”, such as the ‘Do the Lurch’ t-shirt. Also included are t-shirts for James Phillips, Vusi Mahlasela, Koos Kombuis  and the Cherry Faced Lurchers. Sadly, SAHA did not receive any of the much coveted t-shirts produced for the Voëlvry tour of 1989.

SAHA is grateful for the donations of all of these t-shirts. Well-worn or not, they form a significant part of SAHA’s growing collection of t-shirts and embody political protesting in the fight against apartheid during the 1980s.

We continue this open call to anyone who has in their possession, or has knowledge of private collections of struggle t-shirts, to include in our research – whether it be just one, a handful or large collection. And of course we still hope to add a Voëlvry t-shirt or two to the collection!

Visit the Struggle T-shirt Project page

Visit the Shifty Records Project page

See inventory for the SAHA Ephemera collection (AL2540)

See inventory for the Shifty Records Project collection (AL3296)

Visit the International Institute of Social History (IISH) website