Congress of Democrats

by Sammi Joswick


The Congress of Democrats (COD), was a white, anti-apartheid organization, founded in South Africa as a part of the multi-racial Congress of Alliance. It was created in 1953 to illustrate opposition to apartheid among whites. The COD identified closely with the African National Congress (ANC) and advocated for racial equality and universal suffrage. The alliance was very small, it never had more than 700 members. It was based in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Their goal was to attain full human rights, as well as political rights for all South Africans. The Congress of Democrats took part in every campaign of the Congress of Alliance until it was banned in 1962. This organization accomplished many of their goals by showing how passionate they were to fight with blacks and to prove to them that whites saw them as equal.


The significance of the Congress of Democrats was extremely influential to the start of ending apartheid. Nelson Mandela referred to COD in his speeches and wrote “The COD served an important symbolic function for Africans; blacks who had come into the struggle because they were anti-white discovered that there were indeed whites of goodwill who treated Africans as equal”. This created a whole new side to the apartheid movement to gain political power from both racial parties. Having a whites-only party also influenced more whites to be anti-apartheid and help fight with the blacks.

Speech created by Albert Luthuli, a member of the COD

Speech is in the following link:


"Namibia Elections; Political Parties." African Elections Project. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

"Resources." South Africa: Overcoming Apartheid. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

"South African Congress of Democrats (COD)." South African History Online. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.