The 27 April is Freedom Day in South Africa.
It’s a public holiday (this year Freedom Day in South Africa falls on a Friday, making a mini holiday of the last weekend of the month).
But more than the opportunity to get away from it all (the following Tuesday is Workers’ Day, so you still have time to take advantage of a last minute booking!) Freedom Day celebrates the liberation of the country from a time that will haunt us forever….
27 April marks the date, in 1994, when the country had its first free, all-race democratic election.
For years South Africa suffered under a system of extreme racial discrimination known as apartheid.
The country was divided into racial groups and written into law was the further humiliation and ordeal of being unable to mix, marry or live across the colour divide.
“Our proudest moment as South Africans”
Was how FW de Klerk is said to have described Freedom Day 24 years ago. It was an extraordinary moment – the negotiated settlement that allowed democracy under the ANC.
Whether all people in South Africa experience this freedom, that there is growing discontent and anger from those who haven’t seen what they consider ‘progress’ under democracy, is a continuous debate.
2017’s Freedom Day saw anti-Zuma sentiment as people demonstrated their will to recover the country’s freedom from the grip of ‘state capture’ and corruption. This year’s national holiday carries an attitude of hope that Cyril Ramaphosa will bring change; true freedom for all.
Independent of one’s personal hopes and fears, Freedom Day celebrates the liberation from a time of repression to a position where every South African is free to act, speak and live as they choose.
Celebrate the liberty to exercise choice, free from any coercive state regulation, allowing peace & justice to flourish…
Get in the spirit of Freedom Day in South Africa & attend any of these events…
The Suidoosterfees (named for the winter wind that sweeps through the Cape at this time of year) in Cape Town is a celebration of Cape culture. In fact, it celebrates all things ‘Kaaps’ (and Afrikaans), focusing this year particularly on local young talent (if you kept an eye out in the local press you would have seen the search for new talent earlier this year).
But you can also look forward to: Classic Nataniel, Die Fledermaus, and The Johaar Mosaval Journey: District Six to the Royal Ballet all at the Artscape. This year is the festival’s 15th, hence its theme: ‘Fabulous 15’. Find a place to stay – hotels in Cape Town.
AfrikaBurn is such a popular festival that the two general sales of tickets in December and February (there are 13 000 in total but a lot of these go to the artists who register a project) sell in what can only be described as ‘a flash’. If you’re not hovering over your mouse as the tickets go online for sale, then you’re not going (unless you have a friend who manages to get one on their Facebook page in the Leftover sale).
The non-profit event is an annual art create, structure burn, theme camp, music, costume performance created by a volunteer culture of the citizens of ‘Tankwa Town’ in the Karoo. Nothing is for sale at the event but ice. Go, if you can – it gives freedom a new meaning… Stay overnight at accommodation in Sutherland.
With entries extended right up until 20 April this amazing race down the Orange River, in the middle of the Green Kalahari, is as much a celebration of freedom as it is a challenge of endurance. Two days of paddling, now that the dams are full and a generous amount of water is flowing from the Vanderkloof Dam, is the theme of the canoe marathon over 69 km.
Starting in Upington the race ends in Kakamas just south of the Augrabies Falls National Park. If you want to watch the race Orange Descent’s website lists the route for seconds that you can follow. If you want to stay or make a weekend of it, find accommodation in Kakamas
Celebrating hip hop freedom in a big way (20 000 people attended 2017’s event), Jo’burg’s Back to the City Festival is the biggest hip hop festival in Africa. This year’s has over 60 artists, 30 DJs, Graffiti artists, breakdancers, skaters, BMX, live bands, freestyle football and food stalls in a day of dancing.
Steet art, skateboarding, film, street fashion, gaming and speakers and panel discussions (with a special screening of Black Panther). There’s something for everyone. Find it at Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown. Stay at accommodation in Johannesburg.
Throw coloured powder all over you, and everyone else, in this local house music and hip hop celebration of Freedom Day to experience a new meaning of ‘rainbow nation’. For those who’re keen but don’t know the code – you dress all in white and leave colourful.
Arrive to share in the performance art, music and dance, whilst taking part in an hourly uniformed ‘colour-splash’ (you can wear safety glasses for your eyes, especially for those who wear contacts). You’ll get to throw powder to a countdown from the main stage. The powder is totally non-toxic, water soluble and environmentally friendly. Stay at accommodation in Germiston.
At the heart of this conservation themed festival, between 26 April and 1 May 2018, is diving, family fun and local community. There’s a photographic competition, a dedicated kids’ club with rock pool walking tours, face painting etc., music festival, quizzes, a series of micro-seminars on everything from technical diving and photo editing skills to how to tie a sarong, and a local community-focused drive.
Every day ends with bands, music and themed evenings. Good, healthy, outdoor fun for the whole family. Make a weekend of it and Stay in Sodwana Bay
Do a search for Freedom Day 2018 for other events, if none of these are near you. Some of them are so last minute, that when we ‘went to print’ they’d not yet announced themselves…