27 April is Freedom Day, marking the day in 1994 when the first democratic election was held in South Africa.
Freedom Day therefore serves as a reminder to us that the guarantee of our freedom requires us to remain permanently vigilant against the erosion of the values of the Freedom Struggle and to build an active citizenry that will work towards promoting the rights embodied in our Constitution.
On this auspicious day, South Africans are asked to reflect on their rights and the rights of all people from violation - irrespective of race, gender, religion or sexual orientation – freedom applies to everyone, equally.
Johannesburg abounds in sites and attractions associated with the country’s struggle for liberation on the path to the first democratic elections. For those wishing to explore some of the City’s top heritage sites and acclaimed museums, here are a few recommendations:
- Nelson Mandela Foundation Centre of Memory [www.nelsonmandela.org]
Known and loved around the world for his commitment to peace, negotiation and reconciliation, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was South Africa’s first democratically elected president (1994 to 1999). Mandela was an anti-apartheid revolutionary and political leader, as well as a philanthropist with an abiding love for children. Mandela was born into the Xhosa royal family on 18 July 1918 and died on 5 December 2013.
- Apartheid Museum: www.apartheidmuseum.org
The first of its kind, this museum illustrates the rise and fall of apartheid. It is a beacon of hope, showing the world how South Africans are coming to terms with their oppressive past and working towards a future that they can all call their own.
- Constitution Hill [www.constitutionhill.org.za]
Tells the fascinating, often tragic, story of the real South African history; a history in which injustices abounded on social, cultural and political levels. It was once the prison that the famous political freedom icons such as Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi were incarcerated in the Old Fort Prison Complex, commonly known as Number Four during the apartheid era.
- The Struggle Route including: