Congress Alliance

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.[1][2]

The Congress Alliance was part of the ANC's efforts to promote a multi-racial anti-apartheid movement.[3]

Allied and Associated Organizations

Organizations allied and associated organizations with the Congress Alliance included:

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. About half the 'whites' were South African Jews.[4]:60-61 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.".[5] These arrests led to the Treason Trial.


  1. "ANC History Congress".
  2. "South African History Online". Congress Alliance.
  3. Gerhart, Gail M. Black power in South Africa: The evolution of an ideology. University of California Press.
  4. Shimoni, Gideon. Community and Conscience: The Jews in Apartheid South Africa. UPNE, 2003.
  5. Mandela, Nelson (1994). Long Walk To Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela.
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