South Africa's Freedom Day celebrated in Dubai and New York
South Africa toasted to 26 years of democracy on Monday and many countries joined in the celebration. Freedom Day, an annual celebration on April 27, is a national holiday and a reminder of the country’s first democratic elections held on this historic day in 1994.
Despite the lockdown status quo in most countries, including South Africa, it was heartening to see the United Arab Emirates and the United States participate in their own way.
In Dubai, the Burj Khalifa was magnificently lit up with the South African flag, while New York City Time Square splashed the image of Nelson Mandela’s statue with one of his greatest quotes: “The purpose of freedom is to create it for others”.
The United Arab Emirates is commemorating #FreedomDay2020, 27.04.2020. The South African flag has been draped on the Burj Khalifa in Dubai— DIRCO South Africa (@DIRCO_ZA) April 27, 2020
This is great testament to the #unity between #SA & the #UAE. Thank you. 🇿🇦🇦🇪#Solidarity #SAinUAE @AmbMahash @SouthAfrica_UAE @uaepretoria pic.twitter.com/GwyFrQrEbG
Back home, influential South Africans figures, including the Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, were most touched by these gestures.
Burj Khalifa Dubai paying tribute to south africa happy freedom day. pic.twitter.com/X2sc4Gublu— Minister of Transport |Mr Fix (@MbalulaFikile) April 27, 2020
South Africa ulizwe emazweni♥️ Your birthday Freedom Day celebrated in Dubai at the Burj Khalifa, New York at Times Square, the Mattehorn Mountain In Switzerland and many many other places. Long live South Africa 🇿🇦 pic.twitter.com/y8W7oADGa7— Khusela Diko🇿🇦 (@KhuselaS) April 27, 2020
While the day was a great reminder of the strides the country has made, it also became a painful indictment on the pervading inequality in South Africa, which has become more apparent with the lockdown.