Celebrating 25 Years of Democracy

On 27 April 1994, the world watched in admiration as hordes of South Africans queued for hours to cast their votes. For most, the event was the first time in their adult lives that they were able to place their ‘Xs’ on a ballot paper. On that day, the 19.7 million South Africans, who cast their votes, took part in an occasion of such significance that it will go down in history as one of the most significant events of the 20th century.

Twenty-five years on, what occured on (what is now known as) Freedom Day is still one of South Africa’s most significant achievements

With lights strokes of the pen, Nelson Mandela became the first black president of what is still referred to as “The Rainbow Nation”. Today, 25 years on, those present at the first democratic elections will remember the day, the spirit and the goodwill that existed between South Africans of all races to start South Africa on a new path.

We chatted to two MiWay staff members who turned 25-years old this month to find out what Freedom means to them:

  • Born in 1994, Kagiso-born Ofentse Tshukudu reflects on this Freedom Day with gratitude. To her, Freedom means being a go-getter and living a life where nothing can stop her from going after what she wants. She counts herself lucky to be born in a Rainbow Nation where we have freedom of speech, freedom of movement, etc. As a young mother, being born in this era has given her the freedom of choice and the right to exercise it by returning to her studies after falling pregnant – something her parents were not able to do before 1994. Her message to young South Africans is “Don’t let anything stand in your way, go after what you want in life.”
  • When Germiston-born Lindokuhle Mlipha thinks of Freedom and what it means to him, things like liberty, the ability to do things and being able to express himself come to mind. For him, 27 April is a ‘big deal’ considering the country’s history and the sacrifices made by others to bring to life the liberation he now enjoys – it encourages and reminds him to cherish the human rights afforded to all. His message to young South Africans is “cherish what you have, the right to express yourself and to be yourself – be the best possible version of yourself that you can be. There’s still lots to be done!”

In 2019,  it is these very emotions and the commitment to a new future that is required to take our beautiful land to the heights it can achieve – and we can only do it together – as a united South Africa. As Madiba said: ‘It is in your hands to make a better world for all who live in it.”

MiWay wishes you all a happy Freedom Day. May it prove to be a day of renewal and inspiration for us all!

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