R.S.A National Day: 20 Years of Freedom @ Grand Hotel, Vienna

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  • Thursday, 22 May 2014 00:00
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15.05.2014, Grand Hotel, Vienna

Why South Africa commemorates this day?

On April 27, 1994, the Republic of South Africa held its first democratic elections.

The African National Congress (ANC), an important black organization formed to fight for the freedom and rights of all black citizens, won the election. The new ANC-led government began the reconstruction and development of the country and its institutions, bringing with it socio-economic change that improved the lives of all South Africans, especially the poor.

Every year, the Republic of South Africa celebrates Freedom Day, a public holiday that commemorates the anniversary of the historic day in 1994. Special cultural events and exhibitions are held in various venues around Cape Town, the legislative capital of South Africa and other locations around the country and abroad.

The South African Embassy in Austria, celebrated this occasion with all its other African and European counterparts. A rainbow nation, cultures nationalities from widespread all united.


Give your own perspective on the twenty years of democracy in South Africa: by Annastasia R.S.A

Looking at South Africa, it has accomplished a great deal within its twenty years of democracy. Rising from a previously oppressive apartheid government regime, South Africa is one of many countries with an all inclusive constitution, a constitution that is not prejudice toward race, gender, sexuality, religion et cetera. It is also not biased towards any political party representation in parliament. Over the years South Africa has been able to attain a positive diplomatic position on the international platform obtaining both economic and social relations with the different countries they interact with.

Domestically as a country, development has taken its course socially and economically. The black majority who were previously mistreated are now being attended to with basic services. Furthermore, as a nation united metaphorically we stand together for one worldly view, democracy!

With all this allegedly said above, there are still many underlying predicaments we are facing. Along with the continuing narrative of our democracy into the future with questions such as where we are going, what have we really accomplished and what are we really doing to move forward are questions that I honestly think still keep us in a slow moving motion. We have made it this far however, there are loopholes and contradictions to the very statement mentioned above. Domestically, South Africa has been able to socially and economically develop itself though at a pace at which many are not happy with and out of the black majority who were previously disadvantaged, only a few have been able build their way to the ‘top’ and fewer have done it legitimately. A black middle class now exists in South Africa post-1994 although the divide between them and the working class over the years is growing. Delivering what was said belongs to the people has still not been delivered or given back. And I find that speaking at the time of being given ‘freedom’ was based on pulling the heartstrings of the previously oppressed. 

The principles that our liberators followed and urged to the people changed, and no longer came to see the light. We see it in today’s youth whereby they do not really understand where, why and how everything is today. They may be ‘born free’ but I wonder how psychologically free? I begin to question the democracy we follow as it does not benefit everybody and at times it is made to suit those in positions at the top and never the bottom. In addition the constitution also gets amended in cases of obscurity to favour misgivings by leadership.    

While we seem tolerable to the world as a racially united nation, we are yet to breathe out and let go the tension and anger we still contain. I recently read in a book that noted it is as if we were compelled into reconciliation and that the real forgiving and reconciliation is yet to come. Yes, racism is not an instant wash out of the system. Thus we are not really a rainbow nation.

In our twenty years of democracy the freedom we have gained is not the economic freedom we need, and while some believe in social cohesion others are still waiting for their promises. It’s difficult to say where to from here because the sort of struggle our country faces is something we have not encountered. The aesthetic of twenty years into democracy can only be but the continuation of the idea of the ideology in place however, rule by the people for the people by accepted participation one does question.

Thank you to the South African Embassy and H.E. Ambassador Tebogo Seokolo for bring the South African Community together and for a wonderful evening in celebration of a day that has lead us to being where we are not only as South African but as the South African Nation!

Written by: Lauren, Annastasia R.S.A  Photographs by: Lauren




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Lauren, a professional communications expert from South Africa, loves to learn new languages and cultures. She is always willing to share her expertise on the African culture and lifestyles. Through her social interactions with others, she decided her own social projects in her homeland to launch Africa.

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