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25 June 2020

Former Speaker, Baleka Mbete to deliver keynote address for the 65th year anniversary of the Freedom Charter

Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)
Press Release

Former Speaker, Baleka Mbete to deliver keynote address for the 65th  year anniversary of the Freedom Charter


Pretoria, Wednesday 24 June 2020 –  The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) will host a webinar to mark the 65th year anniversary of the adoption of the Freedom Charter. The event titled, Fighting for Freedom: The charter 65 years on, will be held on Thursday 25 June 2020 at 12h30.


Baleka Mbete, Chairperson of the ANC NEC’s archives sub-committee, will deliver a keynote address on the Freedom Charter. Mbete was the Speaker of the National Assembly of South Africa from May 2014 to May 2019


The webinar will include a discussion on the history of the Freedom Charter and engage key questions such as the charter’s relevance today and its impact on the post-apartheid society.


Other speakers include Prof William Gumede (Executive Chairman of the Democracy Works Foundation), who will talk on the topic, How do we build a post-Covid-19 economy based on the Freedom Charter; the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation’s Dr Ismail Vadi on The analysis of the campaign for the Congress of the People and the Freedom Charter; and the HSRC’s Dr Joleen Steyn Kotze on Deconstructing freedom: Reflections on the Freedom Charter and the meaning of freedom.


This webinar can only be accessed via this Zoom link: Please download Zoom beforehand.  


Details of the webinar

Date:                  25 June 2020

Time:                 12h30 to 14h00

Zoom Link:


For more information or to set up interviews, please contact Adziliwi Nematandani, 0827659191, email:


Notes to the Editor


About the Freedom Charter


On 25 and 26 June 1955, 3000 people from all walks of life delegates representing the African National Congress (ANC), the Congress of Democrats, the South African Coloured People’s Congress, the South African Indian Congress and the South African Congress of Trade Unions gathered in Kliptown, Johannesburg at the Congress of the People to formally adopt the Freedom Charter.


The Congress of the People was the culmination of a campaign in which the ANC and its allies had invited all in South Africa to record their demands for the kind of society they envisaged after the demise of apartheid.


These demands, collected by 50,000 volunteers from across the country over several months, were crystallised in a statement of core principles for incorporation into a common document.


The essence of the Freedom Charter is captured in its opening words: We, the People of South Africa, declare for all our country and the world to know: that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white, and that no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of all the people.”


About the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)


The HSRC was established in 1968 as South Africa’s statutory research agency and has grown to become the largest dedicated research institute in the social sciences and humanities on the African continent, doing cutting-edge public research in areas that are crucial to development.


Our mandate is to inform the effective formulation and monitoring of government policy; to evaluate policy implementation; to stimulate public debate through the effective dissemination of research-based data and fact-based research results; to foster research collaboration; and to help build research capacity and infrastructure for the human sciences.


The Council conducts large-scale, policy-relevant, social-scientific research for public sector users, non-governmental organizations and international development agencies. Research activities and structures are closely aligned with South Africa’s national development priorities.


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