This year marks 150th anniversary of struggle icon and human rights campaigner Charlotte Mannya-Maxeke in the 27 years of freedom and democracy in South Africa. 2021 Freedom month will be celebrated under the theme “The Year of Charlotte Maxeke: the Meaning of Freedom under COVID-19”. She and other selfless women of her generation fought against oppression at a time when such defiance was met with unrelenting force.
The Freedom Month celebrations offer us an opportunity to reflect on progress made thus far in transforming our society, while also examining our challenges. The month celebrates freedom and commemorates the first democratic post-apartheid non-racial elections that were held on April 27th 1994, which saw Nelson Mandela elected as President. We also dare not forget the terrible past from which we have come, nor should we forget the many sacrifices made by patriots to ensure our democracy and freedom. Our history abounds with selfless patriots who paved the way for a democratic and free South Africa.
Since 1994, we have moved from an oppressive society to one which values human rights for all through advancing human development and restoring human dignity. Our vibrant democracy is anchored by the constitution which guarantees equal rights for all.
The commemoration comes at a time when the rest of the world is faced with a pandemic of COVID19 and a vaccination programme being implemented across the globe. We call on everyone to use the Freedom Month and Freedom Day celebrations to pull together over the coming weeks and months.
Let us continue to fight the virus while striving for greater inclusion and social cohesion.