In the days of early apartheid rule half a century ago, on 26 June 1955, over 3 000 representatives of resistance organisations made their way through police cordons to gather on a dusty square in Kliptown, Soweto, 40km south of Johannesburg.
This was the Congress of the People, who met to draw up the Freedom Charter, an alternative vision to the repressive policies of the apartheid state.
At the time, Nelson Mandela had to stay concealed to avoid the police. On the second day, the authorities broke up the gathering, but not before the charter was adopted as a guide document. It remains the cornerstone of African National Congress (ANC) policy to this day, and is seen by many as the foundation of South Africa’s 1996 Constitution.
That dusty field has now been declared a national heritage site, and on 26 June 2005 President Thabo Mbeki lit a flame of freedom in Kliptown to mark the opening of the Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication – and 50 years of the Freedom Charter.
The Flyover Show 31st March 2012:
Hip-Hop artist and award winning alto-saxophonist, Soweto Kinch, will host a groundbreaking show featuring a diverse and brilliant line-up in the historic Freedom Square on 31st March 2012. Among the artists that have confirmed their appearance at the Flyover Show are Tumi from Tumi and the Volume, Soweto Kinch and band, Feya Faku, ESKA, Jonzi D, Bokani Dyer, DJ Raiko and the Kliptown Youth Program Gumboot Dancers. Continue reading