freedom charter was produced at Kliptown by black opposition movements,
and was a direct result of the harsh injustices to oppress Africans of
color in South Africa. It contained 10 clauses.
- The people shall govern, affirms the
right of all, regardless of race, color or sex, to vote
- All national groups shall have
equal rights, affords
equality before the law, in the instruments of government, and in
schools, and forbids racial insults.
- The people shall share in the
country's wealth, calls
for the nationalization of the mines, banks and industrial
monopolies, for trade and industry to be controlled by for the
benefit of the people, and for all people to have equal economic and
- The land shall be shared among
those who work it,
demands a redistribution of the land and state assistance for the
peasantry, as well as the abolition of any restrictions on movements
of people, access to land, and stock holdings.
- All shall be equal before the
law, promises the
abolition of detentions or banning without trial, as well as all
- All shall enjoy human rights,
guarantees freedom of speech, worship, and association, and
unfettered freedom of movement.
- There shall be work and
the right of all to work and to equal pay for equal work, lays down
minimum working conditions, and promises the abolition of child
labor, compound labor, and the tot system.
- The doors of learning and
culture shall be opened,
sets out principles of free, universal, compulsory and equal
education, promise to wipe out illiteracy, and undertakes to remove
all cultural, sporting and educational color bars.
- There shall be houses,
security and comfort,
promises decent housing for all and the rationalization of
accommodation, the demolition of slums and fenced townships, the
provision of proper suburban amenities, proper medical care for all
as well as care for the aged, the disabled and orphans.
- There shall be peace and
Africa will respect the rights of other states and will strive for
In conclusion: Let
all who love their people and country now say, as we say here: these
freedoms we will fight for, side by side, throughout our lives until we
have won liberty.
The approval of the Freedom
Charter. On the June the 26th, 1955 at a
Congress where delegates were discussing the Freedom charter police
arrived in force armed with sten guns they formed a cordon around the
sports field where the discussions were held. Fifteen security policeman
then mounted the platform to address the crowd. They claimed that all
people present at the congress were committing treason. They then
confiscated all documents, posters and film and proceeded taking names
and addresses of all the delegates. Everybody was under arrest. A few
days later Congress Alliance proceeded to gain the charter's
ratification by individual member organizations, and launched a campaign
to get a million signatures endorsing the document.
The Treason Trial. A
few months' later police conducted a raid on the homes of about 500
activists, seizing documents related to the Freedom charter, and also
searching for possible evidence of high treason or sedition. Banning and
restriction were served to hundreds of activists as the Apartheid
government stepped up pressure on the liberation movements.
In December 1956 police organized a
nationwide crackdown on the anti-apartheid movements, top leaders of
these movements were arrested and driven or flown in military aircraft
to Johannesburg where they were incarcerated in The Fort Prison.
In 1957 the "Treason Trial"
began in the Johannesburg Drill Hall. The trial lasted until 1961.
During this time the leaders of the various liberation movements had the
opportunity of sharing ideas and making future plans.
International observers flocked to the
trial. Supporters of the liberation movement from all over the world
rallied around the black leaders in prison. Funds started pouring in to
sustain the accused, their families and to pay legal costs.
Most of those charged were subsequently
freed without going to trial. In 1961 the remaining 30 prisoners were
freed. The trial lasted for more than 4 years