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TThe Kliptown open air museum is where delegates to a people's parliament met in 1955 to adopt the Freedom Charter, now the cornerstone of the Bill of Rights and the South African Constitution. This historical museum in Soweto is dedicated to Walter Sisulu, a stalwart of the Freedom Struggle.
TThe Kliptown Open Air Museum is a heritage site symbolising the right of people to freedom. This Soweto museum tells the story of the Freedom Charter.
AApartheid heaped indignity upon people of colour. This was fertile ground for the ANC Youth League, which appealed in particular to the hundreds of thousands of educated urban black youths. To counter white repression it advocated a passive resistance. As the campaign escalated, so repressive measures intensified.
To give the ANC a clear vision, its Cape leader, Professor ZK Matthews, proposed a national convention of progressive movements from all sectors of South Africa ‘to draw up a Freedom Charter for a democratic South Africa of the future'. The response was thousands of delegates meeting on a dusty field in Kliptown on 25 and 26 June 1955.
KKliptown was chosen because it was a multiracial, freehold area originally intended as a buffer between adjoining Soweto and Johannesburg. Here ‘a people's parliament', the Congress of the People, adopted the Freedom Charter, which is now the cornerstone of the Bill of Rights and the South African Constitution.
By the advent of democracy in April 1994, Kliptown had become derelict. Due to the national significance of the area, an urban regeneration and business tourism project, known as The Greater Kliptown Regeneration Development, was initiated to transform the area.
The showpiece of this is the Kliptown Open Air Museum, also known as the Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication, a historical museum in Soweto that incorporates informal traders, shops, art galleries and a hotel.
There are also convention and conferencing facilities, restaurants and exhibition spaces in the square.
Take a tour of Soweto, Johannesburg’s vibrant city-within-a-city – apart from learning the history of the struggle against apartheid, you can immerse yourself in a modern urban vibe with lots to do.
Soweto Bicycle Tours let you explore South Africa’s most famous township’s streets with a qualified guide, taking in historical sites like the former homes of Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Tutu.
South African urban architectural design tours introduce visitors to the eclectic array of styles and influences behind the country’s most iconic buildings.
South Africans are a diverse mix of peoples from Africa, Europe, Asia and elsewhere, and the many museums scattered around the country preserve rich histories, heritages and cultural traditions.
South Africa is a country of rich religious diversity, protected by the Constitution, so explore sacred architecture and spiritual traditions at our many historic places of worship.
Wits Art Museum – part of the University of the Witwatersrand – houses an African art collection that was started in the 1920s and includes masks, photographs, paintings and more.
There are many well-known historic and contemporary art works on display in art museums and galleries in each of South Africa's 9 provinces, with many important permanent art collections centred in the country's major cities.