Congress of the People, 1955

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The Congress Alliance came together in the 1950s to organise the Congress of the People - a conference of all the people of South Africa - which presented their demands for the kind of South Africa they wanted.

The demands called for the people to govern and for the land to be shared by those who work it. They called for houses, work, security and for free and equal education. These demands were drawn together in the Freedom Charter which was adopted at the Congress of the People at Kliptown on 26 June 1955.

The government claimed that the Freedom Charter was a communist document. Communism had been banned in 1950, so they arrested ANC and Congress leaders and brought them to trial in the famous Treason Trial. They also tried to prove that the ANC and its allies had a policy of violence and planned to overthrown the state.

Last updated: 29 June 2001

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