Freedom Day ReflectionsFreedom Day is a South African public holiday celebrated on 27 April. It celebrates freedom and commemorates the first post-apartheid elections held on that day in 1994. The elections were the first non-racial national elections where everyone of voting age of over 18 from any race group was allowed to vote. Previously, under the apartheid regime, non-whites had only limited rights to vote.
Future Leaders is a Lead SA project, which brings together leaders from different ages and environments.Because they are from different backgrounds,the way in which they see the world is different and unique to each of them.When asked what Freedom Day means to them this is what some of them had to say about the 27th of April:
"This Freedom Day, let’s not be afraid to look in the mirror, let’s engage in those tough conversations, acknowledging how our own individual histories and narratives have shaped our perspectives, and greeting every human being with the dignity they deserve. Finally, let’s celebrate our country, by remembering the power of each and every individual, to make a positive impact in our world"-
"It is said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. That first step to freedom was the day everyone irrespective of race could vote in South Africa. Today I still feel there are many steps we have to take in order to reach that goal of freedom. Some people are still scared by apartheid, and hatred and anger still lurks in them. Forgiveness is the key. Our country can never move forward if we keep looking back. Apartheid was our history and should never be our present or our future. We can learn from our history and make sure we never repeat it. We need to be united as a nation. The opposite of apartheid is togetherness. So we need to say goodbye to our labels of race. Togetherness means we adapt to the term South African and not black or white or coloured or any other race."
"As a born-free, for me this day marks the first democratic election for South Africans. Freedom Day reminds us that we are free from oppression, discrimination and racism. It means we are all equal, and no one is better than the other. It means that I have freedom to choose where I can live, where I can attend school and I have freedom to be myself."
"Freedom is truly experienced when People exercise it, not only when the Law enables it.We should never deprive anyone of his or her right to freedom: we owe it to those who fought for it, and we owe it to ourselves."
Our country has come a long way and as citizens we need to celebrate how far we have come and furthermore work on the challenges that we face.
This Freedom Day, LeadSA wants South Africans to remember that initial excitement and optimism.