Johannesburg, Wednesday 24 June 2015 – The Freedom Charter, which will be 60 years old on Friday 26 June 2015, remains one of the most progressive documents in South Africa’s history. It represents the collective will of a coalition of like-minded South Africans who transcended race, religion and political ideology to come together to craft the vision of a South Africa which would belong to all who lived in it.
The innovative and inclusive response to conditions of oppression represented, and continues to represent, a seminal moment in South Africa’s history.
This moment and the accompanying action by the Congress of the People – as those who gathered in Kliptown 60 years ago have come to be known – attested to the resilience, forbearance and tenacity of the South African people. It equally resounded with the spirit of Ubuntu and appreciation that the South African struggle for liberation would succeed by collective will and effort. The moment was imbued with the hope and optimism that a free, liberated and democratic South Africa would belong to all citizens. These qualities of resilience, inclusivity, optimism and Ubuntu continue to define the South African DNA.
Although the Freedom Charter is 60 years old, the spirit in which it was crafted and the sentiments contained within its pages remains relevant and undisputed.
The Freedom Charter outlined the vision of a South Africa where:
• A spirit of freedom, equality and democracy would characterise our country and would be embodied by our people.
• All citizens would have equal rights and equal access to opportunities, including education, housing and employment.
• South Africa would take its rightful place as a sovereign state in the global community of nations and would make a meaningful contribution to sustainable international peace, security and development.
This sentiment of equality and democracy served as the foundation for South Africa’s highest law, the Constitution.
The longevity of the Freedom Charter was further assured when it became the basis of the National Development Plan which is regarded as the country’s blueprint for socioeconomic development. The plan will set the tone for a South Africa defined by equality, development and prosperity till 2030 and beyond.
The National Development Plan, which is the most recent document to be based on the spirit and ethos of the Freedom Charter, is already being implemented with a view to addressing systemic challenges which would impede South Africa’s long term growth and development. These include infrastructure development, job creation, energy security, as well as people-centred development. The plan, anchored on the spirit of active citizenship, will enable the development and prosperity so long yearned for by the people of our country.
It is such concerted, collective and cohesive action that will ensure that the Freedom Charter, the South African Constitution and the National Development Plan are brought to life in a way that positively impacts directly and consistently on the lives of the majority of our citizens.
As South Africa commemorates 60 years of the Freedom Charter, Brand South Africa calls on all South Africans to play their part in moving our country towards socioeconomic growth and development. South Africa’s freedom was borne of the collective and unwavering efforts of millions of citizens. A future characterised by prosperity and development – anchored by the National Development Plan – will be borne of no less.