Freedom Day is an annual celebration of South Africa's first non-racial democratic elections of 1994. Peace, unity, the preservation and the restoration of human dignity hallmarks Freedom Day celebrations on the 27th of April of each year.
The road to democracy was a long and difficult one. And so were teh queues back in 1994. I stood in line for 5 hours to put my mark on a piece of paper. The mood was jovial, the atmosphere full of hope for the future. Blacks and whites together, making a change for their country - together!
South Africans are "One people with one destiny". It is therefore imperative for South Africans of diverse political and economic backgrounds to work towards a common objective. On Freedom Day we celebrate the relentless efforts of those who fought for liberation, of the many men and women who took up arms and courted imprisonment, bannings and torture on behalf of the oppressed masses.
However "Are we really free when our people remain poor, when there is mass unemployment, unwarranted violence and crime"? Freedom should mean emancipation from poverty, unemployment, racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination- but poverty continues to exist, with black people, women, children, the disabled and the elderly. "We need to continue to work to eradicate poverty, racial inequalities and socio-economic disparities,"
Freedom Day means something very valuable, the necessary condition for us to achieve the vital and fundamental objective of a better life for all.
On Freedom Day, we commit ourselves to ensuring the defence of the sacred freedoms that we had won as a result of a long, difficult and costly struggle. We remind ourselves that the guarantee of these freedoms requires permanent vigilance. It should be our pledge to devote ourselves to continue to work to wipe out the legacy of racism in our country.
We need to ensure that all our people enjoy these freedoms not merely as theoretical rights but they must form the daily life experience of all South Africans.