Our freedom has inspired hope for a better tomorrow

President Cyril Ramaphosa during the celebration of Freedom Day. Picture: Elmond Jiyane/GCIS

President Cyril Ramaphosa during the celebration of Freedom Day. Picture: Elmond Jiyane/GCIS

Published Apr 25, 2024


In many ways, this question can only be answered by what it means to an individual, or in certain cases to a society. Prior to 1994, freedom was just a dream for the majority of people in South Africa. The yearning to be free and to live in a society where all were valued, no matter the colour of their skin, drove generations of South Africans to fight for our democratic breakthrough in 1994.

Today, freedom could be as simple as being free to choose a tertiary institution of your choice to study, or where to live, the language you use, to be treated equally whether you a male or female and many others. However, we should never forget that these seemingly simple, everyday things were denied to most South Africans before 1994.

As the nation gears up to celebrate 30 Years of Freedom and Democracy, we should never forget the price that was paid for our freedom, nor should we forget those who sacrificed everything for our country to be free. Their sacrifices paved the way for the democracy and freedom that we now enjoy.

This year’s commemoration will be extra poignant as it will be 30 years since our first democratic election in April 1994.

During the month, many will no doubt reflect on the progress made over our democratic journey, as well as consider how we can further strengthen our democracy.

As a nation, we can be proud that the central pillars of our democracy remain in place. The Constitution remains the supreme law of the land and we are a nation governed by the rule of law and our commitment to the ideals of freedom and democracy.

Our rights, which many fought and died for are protected under our constitutional democracy, which promotes inclusivity, equality, non-racialism, non-sexism, national unity, social cohesion, justice and diversity.

Our freedom has already brought a change to the lived reality of South Africans and has inspired hope for a better tomorrow. However, our work is far from done and as ever we need individuals to drive the change we want.

Let us use our painful history of division, injustice and suffering to build a better and more united nation. By working together, we can create a nation that has equal opportunities across all areas of society. The change we all so desperately want lies in our collective hands, and our democracy and our freedom provide space for all in society to contribute.

Across society there are ways for people to make a difference, and a good starting point is in our neighbourhoods and our communities. The greatest change since 1994 for most people has been where they live as government has delivered water, electricity and basic services that were unmet in the past.

We have also worked to reduce the backlog in the provision of basic services our government inherited in 1994, and while good progress has been made, more still needs to be done to ensure that basic services are extended.

We call on all communities to work with their elected councillors and ensure that they deliver on their promises to improve the lives of people. By taking an active interest in your community you can help to bring about positive change.

The many patriots who worked to ensure our freedom did not wait for others to act; they led from the front, even when doing so was hard. Let us therefore become the change and build on the many achievements since 1994.

The Constitution and our democratic institutions are a safeguard to protect our freedom, but ultimately our actions are what will keep our nation and her people united and strong. As we commemorate the path we walked since 1994, we should rightfully celebrate what we have done, but our walk is far from over. It is now up to this generation to forge new pathways and work to build a better tomorrow for all.

*Mnukwa is acting government spokesperson

**The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of Independent Media or IOL

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