A Public Dialogue discussing “The Freedom Charter as a living document” will take place at lunchtime on Friday 26 April 2013 in the Senate Hall at UNISA, as part of the project CREDO – A Musical Testament of the Freedom Charter.
In direct synergy with the rationale behind the CREDO content, the CREDO Public Dialogue events hope to create lively platforms for rigorous debate; challenge prevailing presumptions and encourage on-going conversations within the socio-political space. Expected to attract a broad-ranging audience, key thought-leaders in the sector will take part in what promise to be provocative panel discussions; and highlights of this debate will link to thoughts on the celebrations of UNISA’s 140th anniversary, and the staging of CREDO.
This dialogue – and another scheduled to take place in July – will be facilitated by well-known writer Brent Meersman, author of the poem that inspired Bongani Ndodana-Breen to write an oratorio on the Freedom Charter.
The first panel will comprise of Professor Raymond Suttner, Dr. Essop Pahad, former Minister of Justice Brigitte Mabandla and Mr Jabulani Sithole.
Raymond Suttner is an emeritus professor at UNISA and part-time professor at Rhodes University. He has published extensively on the Freedom Charter, including the TB Davie Memorial lecture at UCT in 1984 and 50 years of the Freedom Charter (with Jeremy Cronin, UNISA Press, 2006). Suttner was involved in the liberation struggle, including working underground in the 1970s. He spent over 11 years in prison and/or under house arrest. His other writings include: Inside Apartheid’s Prison, 2001, UKZN and Ocean press) and The ANC underground, Jacana and Lynn Rienner, 2008).
Dr. Essop Pahad became involved in the political struggle from the age of 13 in the work of the Transvaal Indian Youth Congress on whose Executive Committee he subsequently served from 1957 – 1964.
From the onset of the democratic, non-racial government in 1994, Dr. Pahad served under Thabo Mbeki – first as the Parliamentary Councillor to the Deputy President, and later as the Deputy Minister in the Office of the Executive Deputy President. From 1999 until he resigned in September 2008, he served as Minister in the Presidency. He published numerous articles in journals of the SACP and ANC and also co-edited two books of President Thabo Mbeki’s speeches entitled: Africa, the Time has Come; and Africa, Define Yourself. As chair of SADET, he has and is contributing to the publishing of at least 5 volumes dealing with the history of South Africa.
Brigitte Mabandla began her career acting as youth co-ordinator for the Institute of Race Relations in Durban, before obtaining an LLB degree from the University of Zambia in 1979.
In 1994 Mabandla was elected to parliament and appointed as Deputy Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology in 1995, a post she filled until 2003 when she took over as Minister of Housing for a year. In 2004, she became Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, and in 2008 moved her current position as Minister of Public Enterprises. She is a founding member of the National Committee for the Rights of the Child, and Women’s Coalition.
Jabulani Sithole lectures in the School of Social Sciences at KwaZulu Natal and is a contributing author to the Road of Democracy book series.
This dialogue will take place on Friday 26 April 2013 in the Senate Hall, 2nd level, Theo van Wijk Building at UNISA; at 11:30 for 12:00 until 14:00.
For more information on the project and related events, please see: www.unisa.ac.za
The Freedom Charter is one of the key “founding” documents of a democratic South Africa and is regarded as second only to the constitution in the country’s hierarchy of political documents. Adopted in Kliptown on 26 June 1955, the Freedom Charter was the culmination of a long nation-wide, non-racial political consultative process among the diverse constituent members of the South African Congress Alliance, which included the African National Congress, the South African Congress of Democrats, the South African Indian Congress and the Coloured Peoples’ Congress.
50,000 thousand volunteers were sent into various communities to canvass public opinion regarding the political future of South Africa thus, in this seminal respect, the Freedom Charter differs from similar documents found in other democracies as it is the result of this public consultation process.
The Freedom Charter states the fundamental principles and core national values of a democratic South Africa, among which are:
- The people shall govern
- All national groups have equal rights
- The people shall share in the country’s wealth
- The land shall be shared among those who work it
- All shall be equal before the law
- All shall enjoy equal human rights
- There shall be work and security
- The doors of learning and culture shall be opened
- There shall be houses, security and comfort
- There shall be peace and friendship