The Congress of the People

By: Serena Tanzer

A bit of Background Information

The Congress of the People (COP) was a secret meeting held in Kliptown, South Africa on June 26 of 1955. The COP convened a series of conferences, gatherings, campaigns, and rallies. Drafted by the ANC, the meeting was held to lay out the vision of the oppressed people and to address the South African liberation against the Apartheid. The most successful meeting went on for two days, attended by 3,000 people (2,844 were delegates,) before the police caught on and broke up the rally.

The Freedom Charter

The Freedom Charter became one of the most iconic documents of the 20th century freedom struggle in South Africa. (88) This document served as the declaration of the end of the Apartheid system. Being the most successful product of the Congress of the People, it acted as a set of rights for the people under the Apartheid. Like the American Declaration of Independence, the Freedom Charter was a letter to the government for independence.

The ANC's Opinion of the COP

“The Congress of the People will not be just another meeting or another Conference. It will be a mass assembly of delegates elected by the people of all races in every town, village, farm, factory, mine and kraal. It will be the biggest single gathering of spokesmen ever known in this country. The representatives of the people who come to the Congress will consider the detailed demands of the people which have been sent in for incorporation in the Freedom Charter, and will embody them into a declaration. This Freedom Charter will be the South African Peoples’ Declaration of Human Rights, which every civilised South African will work to uphold and carry into practice.” (United Nations of Commission)

Work Cited

Rogers M. and Peter Clinton. Oxford IB Diploma Programme: Rights and Protest. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2015.

United Nations of Commission. "Activities of the African National Congress (“Congress of the People”, 25 and 26 June 1955)." CONGRESS OF THE PEOPLE, 25-26 JUNE 1955 (1955): 291-93. Web. 16 Nov. 2015.

"'We Need to Live the Freedom Charter Again'" Sunday Times. Bailey's Archive, n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2015.

Weinberg, Eli. Freedom Day. Digital image. The Freedom Charter. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.