Original Article: https://www.thesouthafrican.com/what-is-freedom-day-and-when-is-it-celeb...
Written By: By Alexis Haden - 2018-04-25
Public Holidays: What is Freedom Day and when is it celebrated?
Freedom Day is a public holiday celebrated in South Africa every year. It's an important day in the country's history and to this day offers a time for reflection. Freedom Day is celebrated on 27 April in South Africa. The day is in honour of the country’s first democratic elections. It was the country’s first non-racial national elections where everyone of voting age of over 18 from any race group, including foreign citizens permanently resident in South Africa, were allowed to vote. Previously, under the apartheid regime, non-whites had only limited rights to vote.
South Africa uses Freedom Day to mark the liberation of our country and its people from a long period of colonialism and Apartheid. On the first commemoration of the holiday, President Nelson Mandela addressed Parliament, saying: As dawn ushered in this day, the 27th of April 1994, few of us could suppress the welling of emotion, as we were reminded of the terrible past from which we come as a nation; the great possibilities that we now have; and the bright future that beckons us. And so we assemble here today, and in other parts of the country, to mark a historic day in the life of our nation. Wherever South Africans are across the globe, our hearts beat as one, as we renew our common loyalty to our country and our commitment to its future.
These days, Freedom Day is celebrated in a variety of different ways with a number of events organised across the country. Many people also choose the celebrate the day in their own way, usually by visiting some of the country’s historic places as a reminder of the privilege of living in a free country. Robben Island, Soweto and the Hector Pieterson Memorial, the District Six Museum and the Apartheid Museum are some of the places where you can go to learn more about South Africa’s history. Others simply choose to enjoy the day by visiting places like public gardens or – if the weather allows – the beach.