Congress of the People

By Madisyn Simpson

The Congress of the People was a group organized by the Congress Alliance. The original goal of this group was to work with other anti- apartheid groups in hopes of combatting apartheid. The Congress of the People allowed the African National Congress (ANC) to form alliances with groups such as the South African Indian Congress(SAIC), the South African Coloured Peoples' Organization and the South African Congress of Democrat. The COP also organized acts of defiance, such as bus boycotts, as a means of non-violent protest. The COP acted as an integration station for many apartheid groups. The COP drew many anti-apartheid groups together, strengthening their fight against the government. The Congress of the People stirred up a lot of political activity during this time. This group held a gathering in Kliptown, which attracted many delegates of a variety of ethnicities. This gathering was formulated to construct the Freedom Charter. The COP eventually ended up passing the Freedom Charter, changing the lives of Africans forever.

The Congress of the People was very significant during the time of apartheid, due to it creating the Freedom Charter. This charter wrote out the rights of citizens, and declared the equality of all people. This charter aimed to abolish the differences between ethnicities, sex, and religion, in hopes of abolishing the apartheid system. The COP created this document, which had a huge political impact on South Africa. Also, without the COP, many anti-apartheid groups would not have been able to create an alliance, due to the COP acting as a unifying body for such groups. Lastly, the COP is significant due to the amount of political disruption it caused. The COP increased the support for the anti-apartheid cause and weakened the enemy all together. The COP was a huge supporter for non-violent protests and organized many anti-apartheid events. The anti-apartheid movement would not have been nearly as successful without the help of the COP.

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