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The Congress Alliance was an anti-apartheid political coalition formed in South Africa in the 1950s. Led by the African National Congress, the CA was multi-racial in makeup and committed to the principle of majority rule.
Congress Alliance, multi-racial struggle, and the Freedom Charter
Congress Alliance was instrumental in the development of the Freedom Charter, the statement of core principles of the Alliance. Characterized by its opening demand, "The People Shall Govern!", the Charter was ratified at a mass rally, the Congress of the People, held at Kliptown, Soweto in June 1955.
The Congress Alliance was part of the ANC's efforts to promote a multi-racial anti-apartheid movement.
Allied and Associated Organizations
Organizations allied and associated organizations with the Congress Alliance included:
- African National Congress (ANC)
- South African Communist Party (SACP)
- South African Congress of Democrats (COD)
- Coloured People's Congress (CPC)
- South African Congress of Trade Unions (SACTU)
- South African Indian Congress (SAIC)
- The Federation of South African Women
The ANC led this multiracial alliance.
In December 1956 many key members of the Alliance were arrested and charged with treason, including the entire executive committee of the ANC. 105 Africans, 21 Indians, 23 whites and 7 colored members of the Congress Alliance were arrested. Many leaders, including Nelson Mandela, were detained in communal cells in Johannesburg Prison, resulting in "the largest and longest unbanned meeting of the Congress Alliance in years.". These arrests led to the Treason Trial.