Today April 27, 2013 Google announced the South African Freedom Day on their homepage with a Google Doodle. On the 27th April 1994 all South Africans with a valid ID document could for the first time vote in the first South African free and fair democratic election. To the world this meant the official end to Apartheid in South Africa.
At the time of the election I was 17 years old and could not vote, but I still remember the days and years leading up to the election as if it was yesterday, as you will see from my report about the “South Africa Freedom Day” Google Doodle, I take South African Freedom Day very seriously and personal.
South Africa Freedom Day Brief History
Mr. Nelson Mandela was released from prison on the 11th of February 1990 after 27 years in jail for the bombing of civilians and sabotage against the South African Government. South African politics is extremely complicated and not easy to understand. Today across the world and also in South Africa, former president Nelson Mandela is regarded by black and white as the best president South Africa have had before and after the first democratic elections 19 years ago.
To provide some perspective as to how White South Africans felt about Nelson Mandela bombing innocent people at the time – Imagine after the 911 American Tragedy “Osama Bin Laden” spent time in jail and became the president of the United States. This is how most white South Africans felt about Mr. Nelson Mandela at the time, and it makes “South Africa Freedom Day” even more special to see how two enemies came to reconcile and forgive!
Many people especially overseas regard white South Africans blatantly as racists. I myself am a white South African and have travelled extensively overseas and almost everywhere when people heard I was from South Africa I was immediately branded as a Racist because I am white. The sad thing is that I nor anyone in my family or friends have done anything wrong to any person from any other Nationality, Culture or Color.
In fact the current South African Government the ANC takes all the credit for “South Africa Freedom Day”, “The End of Apartheid” and the release of President Nelson Mandela for themselves, and they forget that millions of white local South Africans and white foreigners joined their protests overseas towards the “Long walk to Freedom”.
The people making these statements forget that in 1992 South Africa held a referendum where only white people could vote “Yes” for freedom or “No” for apartheid.
You can read more about the white people voting for the end of apartheid on the Wikipedia website at
Millions of white South Africans voted for the end of Apartheid by voting Yes for Freedom, and it is my humble opinion that it is completely convenient for the current majority to undermine the fact that the minority voted yes for their freedom. (Or let me rather say those in power who benefit from dividing South Africans).
At the time all South Africa Economic, Financial and Military power was in the hands of the white minority and if the minority was not open to the end of Apartheid, the minority South African Military could have easily crushed the majority at the time, and Apartheid would still have been South African Policy. You can read more about the
in this Wikipedia Article.
As I have mentioned before South African Politics are very complicated, just like millions of white people voted for “Freedom” and the end to “Apartheid”, millions of black people fought for their freedom and many black people and white people have lost their lives as a result of their fight for freedom.
Today on “South Africa Freedom Day” I want to use the opportunity to explore where South Africa is after 19 years of Freedom, and if all people in South Africa are indeed free. This is based on a statement which President Zuma made the other day, saying in essence that it is ok, if South Africa blame their failures on “Apartheid” after Mr. Trevor Manuel said it is time for South Africans to not blame their failures on Apartheid and move forward.
South Africa Freedom Day 19 years later
I may be criticized for writing this article, but after listening to one of the local Radio Stations on the 19th of April 2013 asking their listeners what “South Africa Freedom Day” means to them and asking how people are going to celebrated “South Africa Freedom Day” a national South African holiday on the 27th April 2013, I feel that there is a place for my voice within the current political environment in South Africa and the media. During this interview listeners could phone in and say what “South Africa Freedom Day” meant to them. Not one South African (All representative of South Africans) were positive about “South Africa Freedom Day” and many said they would rather work than to see millions being spend on lavish parties while people on roots level struggle economically, starve and education and amenities is not up to standard.
On ground level when talking to fellow South Africans I feel that South Africans have accepted each other, and that people want to move the country forward united and as a true rainbow nation, every day on roots level millions of South Africans work together, play together, live together and it is clear that South Africans are accepting each other, among multi-cultural South Africans we as a Nation want to let go of the past and make South Africa a better country together irrespective of color.
However on both traditional white and black sides there are a small minority of right wing mentalities that are spoiling it for all South Africans and playing the race card to divide South Africa again into black and white factions, these people with influence dividing South Africans for me is a fail for “South Africa Freedom Day” and for the freedoms that freedom fighters like Nelson Mandela, OR Tambo, Mbeki, Zuma, Walter Sisulu and many others have fought for.
One example of South Africa Freedom Day Failures include BEE
The South African government have implemented a policy to rectify the wrongs in the past called BEE or Black Economic Empowerment. Basically what this means is that if a black person is equally qualified as a white person the black person should get the job, or if a black person tenders for a contract and a white person tenders for the same contact, the black person should be awarded the contact because of his color.
In essence businesses need to employ X amount of black people to qualify for tenders, or have X many black directors to receive BEE Status allowing them to get major government contracts. Now I personally have never been affected by Black Economic empowerment since I run my own business and never had the need to tender for any contract based on my BEE score or the color of my skin.
All this may seem very well to the world, believing that every white South African is a racists, and it is there due for their part in apartheid, however I believe it is not the case, since the majority of white South Africans voted for the end of apartheid during the National Referendum of 1992 which resulted in the 27th April 1994 South Africa Freedom Day elections.
South Africa did not become “Free” because of a “War” or because of the government being overthrown, South Africa became FREE because the people chose for it to be free and united, and today while reflecting on “South Africa Freedom Day” I feel that it is unfair that the Government have implemented BEE policies and are openly discriminating against white South African males by not appointing highly skilled and highly educated white men into certain positions or not making use of knowledgeable white males in South Africa for the better of all South Africans.
Is it not reversed racism today to NOT treat people equally and still use color to provide one advantage over the other?
How can we truly be free if our skin color makes us better than another or provide one an advantage over the other?
- As long as we use COLOR to define people over another how can we be truly free?
In my humble opinion, “Two Wrongs doesn’t make it Right” and leaders like Mr. Nelson Mandela and Mr. FW de Klerk truly wanted a United Democratic South Africa and freedom for all in South Africa, their ideas was very noble wanting South Africans to live in Unity, Peace and Prosperity.
Making South Africa a country on paper that looks like a Free country with the best human rights policies in the world etc., but failing politically using color to define people.
South Africa Freedom Day is NOT about Race
Lately if you look at the News on Television, The Strikes at the Mines, the Marakana Mine Shootings the E-Toll System, Eskom Electricity price hikes, strikes and corruption the picture may look bleak for South Africa and may all indicate that “South Africa Freedom Day” is a failure and that the Country is heading for a rocky road ahead!
I believe that as a country we did win our freedom on the 27th of April 1994, we as a Nation should not let the minority spoil our good relations with each other based on our color and let them use color to place a divide between us, we are South Africans and we need to move forward as one nation without discrimination and reverse-racism.