Freedom Day – 27 April 2023

National Freedom Day is a public holiday celebrated on 27 April in South Africa that celebrates freedom and commemorates the first post-apartheid elections held in 1994.

It is significant because it marks the end of over three hundred years of colonialism, segregation and white minority rule and the establishment of a new democratic government led by Nelson Mandela and a new state subject to a new constitution. These were the first post-apartheid national elections in South Africa, where anyone could vote regardless of race. The national day also honours the masses of South Africans who resisted and suffered under apartheid and faced death, injury and repression from the security forces Many others battled forced removals, discrimination and other injustices, which the global community classified as a crime against humanity. Although we have made remarkable progress since 1994, the spectre of inequality, poverty and unemployment remains one of the most glaring impediments to South Africa’s national unity and social cohesion goal. 

This year’s Freedom Day celebrations will coincide with the 27th anniversary of the enactment of the Constitution as the supreme law of our country. This year, President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the 2023 National Freedom Day commemorative event in the North West Province and deliver a keynote address, along with a programme featuring cultural performances, a South African Air Force flypast and other ceremonial and celebratory elements. There is no specific way of celebrating this day; some families may choose to have special meals together. Many families might have a special braai (barbecue) to commemorate the day. There might also be local parades and street parties to mark the day. Many South Africans will celebrate Freedom Day by visiting places honouring the struggle for democracy in South Africa. South Africans serving abroad at the South African missions (embassies and consulates) commemorate the national day through special freedom day or freedom month celebrations with members of the diplomatic corps, usually showcasing South African cuisine and entertainment with performances.