Freedom Day (South Africa)
Nelson Mandela voting in 1994
|Observed by||Republic of South Africa|
|Next time||27 April 2019|
|First time||27 April 1995|
|Related to||South African general election, 1994|
Freedom Day is a public holiday in South Africa celebrated on 27 April. It celebrates freedom and commemorates the first post-apartheid elections held on that day in 1994. The elections were the first non-racial national elections where everyone of voting age of over 18 from any race group, including foreign citizens permanently resident in South Africa, were allowed to vote. Previously, under the apartheid regime, non-whites in general had only limited rights to vote while indigenous black South Africans had no voting rights whatsoever.
It is part of the twelve public holidays determined by the Public Holidays Act (No. 36 of 1994).
On the first commemoration of the holiday, President Nelson Mandela addressed Parliament:
As dawn ushered in this day, the 27th of April 1994, few of us could suppress the welling of emotion, as we were reminded of the terrible past from which we come as a nation; the great possibilities that we now have; and the bright future that beckons us. And so we assemble here today, and in other parts of the country, to mark a historic day in the life of our nation. Wherever South Africans are across the globe, our hearts beat as one, as we renew our common loyalty to our country and our commitment to its future.