The historic multi-racial convention called The Congress of the People started in Kliptown, near Johannesburg. The proposition for this form of gathering came from Prof. Z.K Matthews at the African National Congress (ANC) Queenstown regional conference in 1953. It was endorsed by the ANC national conference held in December. The convention was attended by approximately 3,000 delegates from different racial groups in South Africa. Hundreds of delegates were blocked on their way to attend the convention by the police, who were also present at Kliptown. The convention was co-sponsored by the ANC, the South African Indian Congress (SAIC), the Coloured People's Organisation (CPO) and the Congress of Democrats (CoD). It brought together national liberation movements from diverse ideological orientation. These organisations set up a Joint Action Committee to coordinate the work of drafting the Freedom Charter, which was adopted by the convention the next day, 26 June 1955. The Freedom Carter is a corner stone of the Constitution of South Africa. At the meeting three prominent liberation leaders, Chief Albert Luthuli, Dr Yusuf Dadoo and Father Trevor Huddleston were awarded the ANC's highest honour, Isitwalandwe/Seaparankoe, bestowed on those who contributed immensely to the liberation struggle. Chief Luthuli and Dr Dadoo were unable to receive the honour as a result of restriction orders put on them.
Dear friends of SAHO
South African History Online (SAHO) needs your support.
SAHO is one of the most visited websites in South Africa with over 6 million unique users a year. Our goal is to fulfill our mandate and continue to build, and make accessible, a new people’s history of South Africa and Africa.
Please help us deliver this by contributing upwards of $1.00 a month for the next 12 months.