Enhancing the freedom of others

MAYOR’S FREEDOM DAY MESSAGE

ON 27 APRIL every year we celebrate Freedom Day in commemoration of South Africa’s first non-racial democratic election of 1994.

It was a momentous occasion, signifying our nation’s emancipation from Apartheid and heralding new hope for our future, free from the shackles of the past. It was the day every citizen of every race in our nation could cast their vote to determine our collective destiny.

That historic day means many different things to many different people, but none can disagree that it was a more-than-symbolic watershed for our nation. Most of us shared in harmonious camaraderie our hopes for a prosperous future.

For me, Freedom Day is an opportunity to take stock of how far we have come in the last 22 years – looking back, we have achieved so much; looking forward, there is still much to achieve.

I am grateful for the freedoms we are afforded today, chief among them our liberation from our racially discriminatory past, when the majority of our nation was considered less worthy than the minority.

I pray that such a dispensation will never come to pass again and that we will, with time and effort, be released from the chains of poverty, unemployment and corruption, which are still so rife today. While our society is still divided between the haves and the have-nots, we need to strive to attain our collective goal of prosperity and sustainability for all South Africans.

On Freedom Day we need to redouble our efforts of constant vigilance to safeguard against the corrosion of our freedoms, vigilance that requires active citizenry from each and every one of us, to build our destiny by wiping out those divisions that still haunt us today.

Freedom Day is a reminder that we need to live according to the rights embodied in our constitution on a daily basis. As the father of our nation, Nelson Mandela, said: “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

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