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South Africa’s national day, also known as Freedom Day, is a public holiday celebrated annually on April 27th.
It commemorates the country’s first democratic elections, which were held on this day in 1994, marking the end of apartheid and the beginning of a new era of freedom, democracy, and human rights.
For decades, South Africa was a divided nation with a history of racial segregation and discrimination known as apartheid. The system was designed to keep white people in power and suppress the rights of non-white people.
However, a decades-long struggle against the apartheid government culminated in its dismantling and the establishment of a democratic system that gave all South Africans equal rights.
On April 27, 1994, millions of South Africans of all races and backgrounds went to the polls to vote in the country’s first democratic elections. This marked the end of decades of struggle, sacrifice, and courage by countless people who fought for a free, just, and democratic society.
Today, Freedom Day presents an opportunity for South Africans to reflect on their hard-fought democracy and, above all, their constitution, which is considered one of the most progressive and inclusive constitutions in the world.
This year’s Freedom Day will be observed under the theme of “Consolidating & Safeguarding Democratic Gains”.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver a keynote address on Thursday at 11h00 SAT. The programme for the day will feature cultural performances, a South African Air Force flypast and other ceremonial and celebratory elements.
The Freedom Day celebrations programme will be broadcast on all major news channels and on all presidency and government digital platforms.
Here is a message from South Africa’s High Commission for 2023’s celebration: