04 May 2017

Freedom Day 27 April: Are South Africans truly free?

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A week ago on April 27, South Africans from all walks of life celebrated Freedom Day which commemorates our first democratic elections that were held in 1994. It also serves as a reminder of our country's relatively peaceful transition from the gross human rights violations of apartheid into a democratic society. Before the sun had risen on that auspicious day 23 years ago, South Africans were preparing for a new dawn.  Long queues made up by overnight campers greeted early morning risers as they exercised their right to be heard in South Africa's first racially inclusive free and fair elections.

Since those votes were cast South Africa has made tremendous strides in an attempt to redress some of the past injustices that were inflicted by a white minority regime. However, like most young democracies the vestiges of our segregated past still linger on. Our beloved country is trying to live up to Nelson Mandela's vision of "The Rainbow Nation" but most black South Africans feel that it has been a very slow process.

As keeper of a number of voices from South Africa's history ranging from the satirical lyrics and flagrant disregard of apartheid censorship of Shifty Records, to the bravery of those testifying at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), The South African History Archive (SAHA) welcomes our readers to take a look at some of our publications and collections as you ask yourself what freedom truly means to you.

Just as we were able to forge ahead in spite of the atrocities of apartheid and its segregation laws, SAHA is hopeful that in remembering the past we will be able to forge a truly free non-racial society. A South Africa that carries out the legacy of uTata Madiba and inspires awe within ourselves and across the world.