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27 April – did you know these 10 facts about Freedom Day?

We celebrate Freedom Day every year – but how much do you know about it?

10 facts about Freedom Day

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.

  1. April 27 is the anniversary of the first post-apartheid elections held in South Africa in 1994.
  2. The election was actually held over three days, April 26–29.
  3. 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.
  4. Of the 22.7 million eligible voters, 19.7 million voted in that first national election.
  5. 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%.
  6. Freedom Day was first celebrated in 1995 and has since been celebrated annually on 27 April ever since.
  7. Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as the President of South Africa on 10 May, immediately following the election.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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 for a confidential discussion.


Simon Dippenaar | SD Law Cape Town

Cape Town attorney Simon Dippenaar has a BBusSc LLB degree and Professional Diploma in Legal Practice from the University of Cape Town, and is an admitted attorney of the High Court of South Africa. He is the founder and director of private legal practice, Simon Dippenaar & Associates, with offices in Cape Town and Gauteng representing South African and international clients.

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