Fighting for freedom – The Charter 65 years on
On 25 and 26 June 1955, 3 000 people from all walks of life – delegates representing the African National Congress (ANC), the Congress of Democrats, the South African Coloured People’s Congress, the South African Indian Congress and the South African Congress of Trade Unions – gathered in Kliptown, Johannesburg at the Congress of the People to formally adopt the Freedom Charter.

The Congress of the People was the culmination of a campaign in which the ANC and its allies had invited all in South Africa to record their demands for the kind of society they envisaged after the demise of apartheid. These demands, collected by 50,000 volunteers from across the country over several months, were crystallised in a statement of core principles for incorporation into a common document. The essence of the Freedom Charter is captured in its opening words: “We, the People of South Africa, declare for all our country and the world to know: that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white, and that no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of all the people.”

This seminar, which commemorated the 65th anniversary of the Congress of the People, included a discussion of the history of the Freedom Charter and engage key questions such as its relevance today and its impact on post-apartheid society.

Prof. Crain Soudien, HSRC

Ms Baleka Mbete Chairperson of the Archives Sub-Committee of the NEC of the ANC
Key note address on the Freedom Charter

Prof. William Gumede, Director of the Democracy Works Foundation
How do we build a post covid-19 economy based on the Freedom Charter

Dr Ismail Vadi, Ahmed Kathrada Foundation
The analysis of the campaign for the Congress of the People and the Freedom Charter

Dr Joleen Steyn Kotze, HSRC
Deconstructing freedom: Reflections on the Freedom Charter and the meaning of freedom

For further information contact: Arlene Grossberg | E:


About Author: integral
A free-thinking individual who strives to maintain psychological balance between the two polar aspects of Human Nature; Desire and Conscience. However, These conditions can never be balanced because inertia will carry us to extremes. Balance is a constant struggle therefore I live by the principles of the HERU Interface