A post circulating Facebook and elsewhere reads:

Nelson Mandela will die soon. Today, tomorrow, this week, next week. It won't be long. Remember this, he out-lived Thatcher. When he does die, and David Cameron jumps on the Mandela bandwagon, remember that in 1985 he was a top member of the Federation of Conservative Students, which produced the "Hang Mandela" posters. In 1989, Cameron worked in the Tory Policy Unit at Central Office and went on an anti-sanctions fact-finding mission to South Africa with a pro-apartheid lobby firm sponsored by PW Botha. Remember this when he tells the world he was inspired by Madiba.

Example Facebook link

The text I pasted is subtly different from the photo captured here - both are in circulation, but the former is privately shared, and I imagine susceptible to link rot.

enter image description here

The 1989 trip to South Africa, and its sponsorship by an anti-sanctions lobby firm is well documented.

I have found plenty of corroboration for the existence of the poster in question, produced by the Foundation of Conservative Students, but not the exact year it was produced, nor evidence that Cameron was a member of the organisation, and it so, when.

So, was David Cameron a "top member" of the FCS at the time these posters were produced? Is there evidence that he was instrumental in, or sympathetic to, the production of these posters?

  • 1
    Cameron's freebie to apartheid South Africa - independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/…
    – Tom77
    Commented Jun 27, 2013 at 9:30
  • 2
    @jwenting what blood ? Commented Jun 28, 2013 at 10:31
  • 1
    Let's not pollute this question with debate on whether or not Mandela and the ANC's activities were terrorist. It's orthogonal to the question asked.
    – slim
    Commented Jun 28, 2013 at 11:50
  • 1
    @jwenting more violent ? I find that extremely hard to believe. Also, the ANC's political idealogy was for equal rights for black people - which is rather different to the other groups you mention; the vast majority of rational people support the anc's view, whereas they don't with the other groups you mention. Commented Jun 28, 2013 at 13:41
  • 7
    Please stop it; it is orthogonal; there are other places you can engage in that debate. The question is not "was this poster justified" or "was NM a terrorist". The question is "was David Cameron partly responsible for it".
    – slim
    Commented Jun 28, 2013 at 14:24

1 Answer 1


I can find no evidence that David Cameron was a member of the Foundation of Conservative Students. According to biographies of David Cameron he wasn't politically active while he was a student and his political views were not extreme:

New Statesman - What Does David Cameron Want?

Unlike Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, Cameron stayed clear of student politics and of the Oxford Union.

BBC - David Cameron: Life and times of new UK prime minister

School friends say Mr Cameron was never seen as a great academic - or noted for his interest in politics, beyond the "mainstream Conservative" views held by most of his classmates.


At Oxford, he avoided student politics because, according to one friend from the time, Steve Rathbone, "he wanted to have a good time".

Francis Elliott, James Hanning - Cameron: The Rise Of The New Conservative

While future Tory stars ... threw themselves into student politics either at the Oxford Union or in the Oxford University Conservative Association, Cameron stayed on the sidelines, rather as he had at Eton.


'Dave's politics were very much centrist Tory', says Rathbone. 'He was always very mistrustful of the Monday Club types who were always banging on about how Mandela [then still in prison] was a terrorist.'

  • "he wanted to have a good time". - he CLEARLY took to heart the lessons learned from "How did Clinton become President" :)
    – user5341
    Commented Jun 28, 2013 at 17:43

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