Our history

Afrikagrupperna is an non-profit, party-political and religiously unattached solidarity organization with a vision of a fair world. The organization originated in the solidarity movement in Sweden in the late 60’s, both through its support for the liberation movements in southern Africa and by being a supporting force in the fight against apartheid in South Africa. Together with partner organizations in southern Africa, the Africa Groups have worked for 40 years for people to have access to their rights.

The foundation

During the 1960s, solidarity groups were formed around Sweden, and in various ways engaged in the fight against colonialism in Africa. These African groups formed networks and eventually (1974) a national organization. Read more

Initially, this national organization supported the liberation struggle in the Portuguese colonies, such as Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique. Later, the solidarity also expanded to support the struggle for independence and against apartheid in Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

The Africa Groups worked to collect money, clothing and healthcare articles for the liberation movement, and with disaster projects concerning health in Mozambique and the SWAPO refugee camp in Angola. We also worked to spread knowledge about the liberation movements and their struggle against oppression, as well as mobilizing resistance and support in Sweden. 

During the 80’s

During the 1980s, the Africa Groups were the driving organization in the ISAK, the Isolate South Africa Committee, which was one of the most famous and active anti-apartheid movements outside of South Africa. Read more

Through the Africa Groups, Sida was able to provide support to South Africa and the ANC before 1994. As the countries became free and independent, it became clear that the support for the liberation movements proceeded to become development cooperation.

For many years, the Africa Groups have provided different forms of support to the countries. Over the years, nearly a thousand Swedes have travelled to southern Africa through the Africa Groups. It has mainly been representatives of professional groups such as healthcare professionals, teachers or architects. The first two projects of the Africa Groups in Mozambique and Angola can illustrate what this was about. 

The SMI-project in Mozambique

The SMI project was funded by the WHO and was planned by the Ministry of Health in Mozambique. It involved further education for nursing staff in childcare and maternity care. The Ministry turned to the Africa Groups, whose solidarity workers were professionals and shared the Ministry’s basic view, for the recruitment of teachers. Read more

The practical training plans were developed for an education that, for several years, came to cover almost all of the country. Several teachers’ teams of Swedish doctors and midwives with Mozambique experience worked six weeks at a time, starting in 1982. Their knowledge of the conditions for health work in the country, and good contacts with the Ministry, ensured that the education was at the right level. Which, in turn, fell well into the wider upheaval of the health sector that the Ministry ran. 

The SWAPO-project in Angola

The health care for SWAPO, the liberation movement in Namibia, was aimed to strengthening the health service at SWAPO’s major refugee camp in the Kwanza Sul province of Angola. It consisted of staff support for ongoing work and education, as well as extensive material support.
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The first two years was led by the Bread and Fishes, and was designed as a direct extension of solidarity work in Sweden for the liberation struggle that became increasingly intensive.

The planning took place over a long period of time, both of staff efforts and material shipments that were complicated during the Angolan war. SWAPO in Sweden and Angola participated, and several visits to Angola for investigations and conversations were made from our side. The Finnish Africa Committee also contributed to the recruitment of doctors.

The project’s health personnel became a natural part of the camps, and the material shipments led to frequent contacts between those who collected and packed the materials in Sweden and the recipients at the camp. The healthcare materials and the clothing from the initial planning were increasingly complemented by educational materials and other daily life needs. 

2000’s and forward

The support to states and state authorities has been dismantled and transferred to the civil society. Today, the Africa Groups support about 30 organizations in southern Africa, more specifically in Angola, Namibia, South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Read more

During the 40 years as an organization, we have always been an important part of a strong solidarity movement and a living civil society in Sweden. We believe that a strong civil society plays a crucial role in a democracy and it is extremely important both in southern Africa and in Sweden. Civil society should not be seen as a counter-pole to the state but as a necessary actor for the development of a democratic state. 

Afrikagrupperna, Angola