An abandoned landscape at the heart of historic Kliptown was the site for the 1955 ‘Congress of the People,’ (COP) an anti-apartheid gathering of people from across the entire country which inaugurated the declaration of human rights known as the Freedom Charter. In 2003 a national architectural competition was held for the design of Freedom Square (located on the historic site of the COP), a project later renamed ‘The Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication.’ The design competition for Freedom Square was conceived in recognition of “the spirit of human hope that animated […]the ideals of the Charter. (JDA 2002: 11)” The site marks a thoroughly inclusive event in the history of South African politics; yet as physical geography, this open terrain is also rooted in a specific urban local, an area with a long history of neglect. The apparently ‘indistinct’ nature of the site has framed crucial questions of economic empowerment, of participation and ownership of the scheme. Freedom Square’s main ambition has been to commemorate an event, the historic traces of which have all but vanished, and neither the programme nor the site – indeed not even ‘the client’(for initially at least, there was none) – could be called upon to provide clear direction. The story of Freedom Square raises difficult questions as to the role of architecture and planning in the context of post-Apartheid heritage. This paper will present a critical developmental history of the Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication, to highlight successive imaginings that have sought to interpret the public significance of the site, and the contestations that ultimately were produced by the winning scheme.