30th anniversary of Nelson Mandela's release


Freedom Day celebrations move online amid lockdown regulations

This year’s Freedom Day celebrations will be marked using online platforms.

30th anniversary of Nelson Mandela's release


Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Freedom Day celebrations will be marked using online platforms, according to the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture.

“Freedom Day, as South Africans know it, is very different this year…The COVID-19 pandemic has changed things… [from] the norm,”  said the department ahead of Freedom Day on Monday 27 April.

The department reminded South Africans that under the current lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the virus, gatherings are prohibited.

Theme of solidarity and triumph of human spirit

“The theme for this year’s Freedom Month celebrations is solidarity and the triumph of the human spirit in these challenging times. President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to address the nation,” said the department.

Freedom Day is the commemoration of the first democratic elections held in South Africa on 27 April 1994. These were the first post-apartheid national elections to be held in South Africa, where anyone could vote, regardless of race. 

This year’s Freedom Day marks 26 years of freedom and democracy. 

“It is a marked departure from colonial and apartheid oppression, spanning over 400 years, to a democratic constitutional order, undergird by the values of democracy, equality, non-racialism, and non-sexism, among others,” said the department on Sunday.

24th anniversary of signing Constitution into law

The 2020 calendar also presents an opportunity to mark the 24th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution into law by President Nelson Mandela in Sharpeville.

“This too presents an ideal moment to reflect on the 24 years of constitutionalism, and the trickledown effect that this has had on the lives of ordinary people in the Republic.

“Freedom Day is thus an ideal platform for reflection, in terms of the progress made thus far in fundamentally transforming South African society, including some of the strategic gains made, as well as persistent challenges that threaten to stymie progress, if left unchecked,” the department said.

Reflect through media platforms

It called on all South Africans, traditional leaders, different organisations, interfaith and all government spheres to take the opportunity to reflect on the day.

“On 27 April this year, all South Africans are called upon to take the opportunity to reflect through different media platforms with recorded messages.

“It is time to reflect, be responsible and stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, and ponder on the progress we have made as a country in moving South Africa forward.”

South Africans are reminded that the values espoused in the Freedom Charter still hold true, even under these trying times. They are an overall vision for a non-racial and democratic society, and many of these values are embedded in the Constitution.