As we celebrate Freedom Day today, Wednesday April 27, ROSHAN ABRAHAMS asked a few of our community leaders how they felt about the day and how they will be spending it.
“It is important that we be reminded that not only one movement made this possible but that there were many who played less prominent roles but nevertheless, made a valuable contribution to our freedom. Freedom Day must remind us that we can never be truly free until our nation is free from poverty and degradation. We achieved political freedom, but many in this country are still not economically free. We must also work together to ensure that our minds are free and that never again shall an oppressive ideology force us into ignorance.
“The fruits of freedom should be shared especially with those who are still living in the grip of the legacy of apartheid. We must all strive to be game-changers and be engaged in programmes and projects that will make our country a better place for all,” said Mr Bam.
Mymoena Scholtz, founder of the NPO Where Rainbows Meet, in Vrygrond, said: “We will celebrate this day sharing about how others fought and strived for equality. As a foundation we would like to create awareness around the importance of registering yourself as a voter as well as a South African citizen of this country in order for people to raise their voice about the inequalities of our country. We want to teach the community about Freedom Day and why we celebrate it. Most people just see it as another holiday, but we want to ensure that awareness is created and the people must understand where we come from.
“Are we really free? How did this impact our lives? I feel Freedom Day is about celebrating equality and fairness in our country, but how free are we? Most people in poor communities are deprived of a good education. We are prisoners in our own communities due to gangsters controlling our communities. The poor are still getting poorer. Are we really liberated, did people really fight in vain for our freedom? Racism is emerging again, and I asked myself did it ever leave the hearts of our people? How many are trying to eradicate poverty, or do we have so much money that we are not concerned about the poor? Who is really fighting for a better life for all?
“As a foundation, we will continue to strive for a better and brighter society, and will continue to em-power our people to take their rightful place in society.”
Adele Campbell, Lavender Hill community leader, said she became the first coloured female typist at Wynberg Magistrate’s Court in 1992. “Apartheid was rife at the time. We were eight coloureds at the Court. At the age of 24 I have made my first X (to vote). What an historical moment for me,” she said.
“I can remember when the late Nelson Mandela came to Allenby Drive, in Retreat, for the first time. My husband had our eldest daughter on his shoulders. And as he entered the marquee, it was quiet and she shouted in a loud voice, ‘Daddy there is Tata and he turned around and smiled – the famous smile which we all as fellow South Africans will never forget.
“As a South African I can say I was proudly part of the long and difficult road to democracy. My encouragement today to our youth is to equip yourselves, never to give up, stand tall and never let your surroundings hold you back.”