This is an important occasion for South Africa’s indigenous people and various ethnic groups.
Before the importance of Freedom Day can be grasped, it’s important to understand South Africa’s history of racial violence and segregation. Until 1994, the South African government implemented a racist segregation system known as apartheid. In Afrikaans, apartheid means separateness. This single word describes a series of policies that kept racial groups away from the white minority in South Africa.
Due to the many racist policies that were implemented by the white minority, black Africans began to fight back against the South African government. During the beginning of their movement for equality, black Africans formed the African National Congress to engage in peaceful protests. During a peaceful demonstration in Sharpesville, a battle broke out between black protesters and white attackers. The attackers killed 67 black Africans. After realising that peaceful protests would be met with deadly force, the African National Congress formed two military divisions. Soon after this, Nelson Mandela, a prominent leader in the anti-apartheid movement, was arrested by the South African government.
While the South African government hoped that arresting Nelson Mandela would stifle the African National Congress’ goals, it actually helped the anti-apartheid movement. After Mandela was arrested, the international community rallied to assist black Africans. The United Nations deemed South Africa’s apartheid policies to be inhumane and immoral. When the South African government did not react to this criticism from the largest international governmental organisation, the United States and United Kingdom stepped in to implement economic sanctions. These sanctions greatly harmed the South African economy, so the South African government began to implement reforms. After Nelson Mandela was released from prison, a new constitution was drafted for the South African government. This constitution granted franchise rights to black Africans and all ethnic groups.
With new franchise rights, black Africans and other citizens elected Nelson Mandela to be South Africa’s new president in 1994. This officially ended apartheid in South Africa.
While Freedom Day is an important day for black Africans, it is also a joyous occasion for all South Africans who value the concept of freedom.
Freedom Day is observed as a national public holiday on April 27 each year.
Freedom Day is an important holiday that allows South Africans to celebrate their rights and social progress.