Freedom Day is all about choice … and togetherness. We celebrate it as a national public holiday every year on the 27 April not just to score a day off work but to commemorate our first democratic elections, held in 1994. The holiday also gives a respectful nod to our one-of-kind Constitution, which arguably boasts the world’s best, most democratic Bill of Rights.
So how will you be celebrating our country’s 20th anniversary of democracy this month? If you’ve not yet thought that far or are feeling a bit stumped, let us offer you some inspired choices:
1. Visit a related monument or site
Have you visited the new Nelson Mandela Capture Site monument in the KZN Midlands? It’s a work of great ingenuity, with a lovely path through flowers leading up to it and benches at various points to stop and reflect. There’s also a temporary exhibition detailing Mandela’s life and journey to President. Moreover there is the Truth Café (a fully licensed restaurant), shops, and a kiddies’ play area.
For those in Gauteng you could go to the Freedom Park in Pretoria and take a walk through the Garden of Remembrance or visit the African Window Museum. If you’ll be in Cape Town on the 27th, why not book a boat trip to Robben Island? Freedom Day is a great day for remembering our late hero and all those like him who fought hard for equality.
2.Talk about it
Have you taught your kids about the 1994 elections? This would be a good day! Explain to them why there is a public holiday, and why it’s important that we commemorate it each year. One way of getting such a conversation going could be to watch a movie like Mandela: Long to Walk to Freedom or Invictus together and then chat about it.
Also, why not start a conversation about Freedom Day with a colleague, the coffee shop waitress, your neighbour on the train, or someone else? Ask them what Freedom Day means to them. You might be surprised by what you learn!
3.Fly an SA flag
Why not fly our lovely bright South African flag outside your house, inside your car or shop window, or on your office building? If many of us do so it will create a lovely sense of togetherness seeing all the flags about town. (And perhaps wear your SA flag sweater or hat while you’re about it!)
4.Attend a Freedom Day event
Many folks prefer to stay home on Freedom Day with their families, but if you like to get out then there’ll be Freedom Day celebrations all over the country for you to enjoy. For example, Franschhoek will be hosting a Freedom Day Festival at the Freedom Hill Restaurant. A variety of activities will be on offer, from picnic lunches to a black tie dinner with fusion-style food, stellar wines, a live local musician, African drums, and a stand-up comedian.
There will also be plenty of events not directly linked to Freedom Day taking place over that weekend, and we think another great way of celebrating our democracy is to step out of the house and move freely about, rubbing shoulders with those of different cultures, ethnicities and backgrounds, choosing to go wherever you want – because areas and facilities are no longer restricted based on race – and celebrating our liberty in an atmosphere of camaraderie.
You could, for example, indulge yourself at the Prince Albert Olive Festival in the picturesque Karoo town of Prince Albert or attend the South African Cheese Festival in Stellenbosch.
5.Write about it
Why not write about Freedom Day on your blog, or share some thoughts and images on
social media? You could also release your latent creativity by writing a poem about it, doing a sketch to give to someone else, or whatever your imagination suggests. Maybe you’d just enjoy going for a run during which time you look about you and appreciate those changes you see that have occurred because we are a democracy.
6.Celebrate with us at City Lodge Hotel Group
If you’re in transit on Freedom Day, never fear – we at City Lodge Hotel Group are here to accommodate your travel arrangements and ease your journey with a soft place to lay your head, a delicious breakfast, and our many specialty ‘small things’ to fill your journey with some joie de vivre!
We wish all our fellow South Africans a meaningful Freedom Day, and we look forward to joining you in celebrating our democracy, our freedom, and our togetherness.