South African Congress of Democrats

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The South African Congress of Democrats (SACOD) was a radical left-wing white, anti-apartheid organization founded in South Africa in 1952 or 1953 as part of the multi-racial Congress Alliance,[1] after the African National Congress (ANC) invited whites to become part of the Congress Movement.[2]

The establishment of the COD sought to illustrate opposition to apartheid among whites. The COD identified closely with the ANC and advocated racial equality and universal suffrage. Though small, COD was a key organization of the Congress Alliance. The COD took part in every Congress Alliance campaign until it was banned by the South African Apartheid government in September 1962.[3]

Relationship with the ANC and SACP[edit]

The ANC viewed the COD as a way to put its views directly to the white public. Moreover, as Nelson Mandela wrote, "The COD served an important symbolic function for Africans; blacks who had come into the struggle because they were anti-white discovered that there were indeed whites of goodwill who treated Africans as equal."[4] Though COD was not itself a communist organization, many members of the banned South African Communist Party (SACP) joined the COD.


COD never had more than 700 members and was based mainly in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Members of COD included:[5]


  1. ^ South African History Online. "South African Congress of Democrats Founding Conference".
  2. ^ Goldberg, Denis (2016). A Life for Freedom. University Press of Kentucky. pp. 39–42. ISBN 9780813166858.
  3. ^ South African History Online. "Congress of Democrats".
  4. ^ Nelson, Mandela (1994). Long Walk To Freedom. p. 149.
  5. ^ South African Democracy Education Trust (2004). The Road to Democracy in South Africa: 1960-1970. Zebra Press. p. 622.
  6. ^ Molver, Zoë (1 October 2007). ""But he didn't know how to read it ...": The editing of Harold Strachan's Way Up, Way Out". English in Africa. Archived from the original on 11 October 2012. Retrieved 4 February 2013.

External links[edit]