We celebrate Freedom Day every year – but how much do you know about it?
April is a wonderful month, packed with public holidays (especially if you count 1 May – Workers’ Day, although this year it falls on a Saturday so it doesn’t feel as much like a holiday). But how much do you know about the reason for the day off on 27 April – Freedom Day? Here are 10 facts about Freedom Day you probably know, and a few you might not, that explain why Freedom Day is so important to South Africans.
- April 27 is the anniversary of the first post-apartheid elections held in South Africa in 1994.
- The election was actually held over three days, April 26–29.
- The elections were the first non-racial national elections where everyone 18 or over, from any racial group, was allowed to vote. Permanent resident foreigners were also allowed to vote.
- Of the 22.7 million eligible voters, 19.7 million voted in that first national election.
- While the ANC won with a clear majority – 62.65% of the vote, it was not an uncontested election. The National Party (NP) secured 20.39% of votes, Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) 10.54%, Freedom Front (FF) 2.2%, Democratic Party (DP) 1.7%, Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) 1.2% and the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) 0.5%.
- Freedom Day was first celebrated in 1995 and has since been celebrated annually on 27 April ever since.
- Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as the President of South Africa on 10 May, immediately following the election.
- Some activists and groups celebrate a version of Freedom Day called UnFreedom Day, to highlight the fact that the poor still experience a lack of freedom.
- Freedom Day is important because it “marks the end of over 300 years of colonialism, segregation and white minority rule and the establishment of a new democratic government led by Nelson Mandela and a new state subject to a new constitution,” says the government.
- Although an interim Constitution was drafted in 1993, prior to the election, the final Constitution, which guarantees our rights and our freedom, only came into effect on February 4, 1997.
For advice on your rights
SD Law is a Cape Town law firm, also in Johannesburg and Durban, that is passionate about the law and about upholding the Constitution and defending human rights. If you have any questions about your Constitutional rights, give attorney Simon Dippenaar a call or WhatsApp him on 086 099 5146, or email email@example.com for a confidential discussion.
The information on this website is provided to assist the reader with a general understanding of the law. While we believe the information to be factually accurate, and have taken care in our preparation of these pages, these articles cannot and do not take individual circumstances into account and are not a substitute for personal legal advice. If you have a legal matter that concerns you, please consult a qualified attorney. Simon Dippenaar & Associates takes no responsibility for any action you may take as a result of reading the information contained herein (or the consequences thereof), in the absence of professional legal advice.