President Jacob Zuma arrived at the Union Buildings in Pretoria after 10am on Friday for the annual Freedom Day celebration, joining scores of people who had converged earlier.
Making his way to the lawn, Zuma was greeted with cheers, whistles and shouting.
Adorned in green and gold, the military band entertained the crowd with music.
Before Zuma arrived people cheered loudly during a fly-past by the SA Air Force, and a 21 round gun salute.
Several military aircraft shot through the sky as a big contingent of photographers tried to capture good photographs.
With one hand firmly on his chest, Zuma joined in the singing of the national anthem.
Other dignitaries present at the event were deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile and Tshwane Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa.
Zuma was expected address the crowd at midday. - Sapa