In February 1990, in a small town outside Johannesburg, South Africa, Nelson Mandela walked out of prison a free man after 27 years to begin his march towards the presidency of his country four years later. As the world knows, his election put an end to legal apartheid. Mandela’s freedom and his eventual election were the culmination of years of effort by ordinary South Africans struggling for freedom and supported by people all over the world. On that same day, about 3000 miles to the northeast, at Arusha in Tanzania, an international conference on popular participation was taking place. This conference had been planned jointly by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from Africa, Europe, Canada and the United States, together with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. Its purpose was to call attention to the essential truth that people must be integrally involved in their own development. That conference, occurring in perfect symmetry with the liberation of Nelson Mandela, produced the African Charter on Popular Participation, which stands to this day as perhaps the best expression of popular participation (African Charter, 1990).