14th Anniversary of Freedom Day Celebrations on 27 April 2008 in Cape Town: statement by Minister of Arts and Culture, Dr Z. Pallo Jordan

Printer-friendly versionSend by emailPDF version
22 Apr 2008

The main official event to mark the 14th anniversary of South Africa’s Freedom Day celebrations will be held in Cape Town on 27 April 2008. It will highlight the strides we have made towards accelerating a better life for all since our first democratic elections in 1994.

The event, hosted by Minister of Arts & Culture, together with the Provincial Government of the Western Cape - will be held at Turfhall Park, Lansdowne in Cape Town. We will be celebrating the milestone in our history that opened the way for the creation of a democratic, non-racist and non-sexist South Africa based on equality dignity and respect for human rights.

Freedom Day, 27 April brings back memories of that great day in 1994, when millions of our people queued up patiently to choose a government of their choice, the overwhelming majority, for the first time in their lives. It was the dawn of freedom won through struggle and sacrifice over decades supported by the solidarity of freedom-loving people across the world.

There will be a host of activities throughout the country. At the main event, here in Cape Town, the programme will include the following:
* keynote address by President Thabo Mbeki
* a march past by South African National Defence.
* a fly past by the SAAF and 21 Gun Salute
* cultural performances
* exhibitions

As we celebrate freedom and democracy, we call upon all sectors of society to work together in the spirit of “Business Unusual” as we address the current challenges so that we “keep alive the dream that sustained us along the uncharted road towards the creation of South Africa visualised in our Constitution” (President Mbeki 2008).

In a significant development, various Government departments, including Home Affairs and Social Development, will mount on-site exhibitions providing information and process applications for social grants, identity documents and other needs.

Since the beginning of this month, there have been numerous functions to mark Freedom Day. They include seminars and other gatherings hosted by the Department of Arts and Culture, the Western Cape Provincial Government, the Public Protector and the South African Human Rights Commission in the Western Cape to name a few.

These events have focussed on issues such as freedom, the responsibilities of citizenship, racism, human rights, xenophobia and social cohesion.

All the other provinces have arranged their own activities to mark 14 years of freedom.

The celebration of Freedom Day in South Africa marks the culmination of a long and hard won struggle that has seen countless heroes make the ultimate sacrifice for freedom and democracy.

Today, fourteen years ago, millions of people cast their vote and this has made it possible for all South Africans to not only determine their future but to live in a peaceful, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic society.

The principles of equality, dignity and respect for human rights remain the cornerstone of our freedom and democracy.

Since April 27 1994, South Africa has been through a process of transforming from a divided and bitter past. Millions of lives have been transformed, but much more needs to be done to eradicate apartheid’s legacy of poverty, inequality and racism that still affects far too many South Africans. The recent appalling incidents of blatant racist behaviour in some parts of South Africa demonstrate the serious challenge we still face in our endeavour of nation building and social cohesion. However the solidarity displayed by South Africans in condemning these incidents demonstrated that the majority of people are committed to building a non-racist society.

For accreditation please provide your name and identity document (ID) number to:
Mpho Matjele
Cell: 0829027238

Media enquiries:
Mack Lewele, Communications Director
Cell: 082 450 5076
Tel: 012 441 3083

Sandile Memela, Spokesperson for the Ministry of Arts and Culture
Cell: 083 800 3750
Tel: 021 465 5620