SOUTH AFRICAN EMBASSY IN BERLIN, GERMANY SPEECH BY THE AMBASSADOR OF SOUTH AFRICA ON THE OCCASION OF FREEDOM DAY

 27 APRIL 2022

Dear friends of South Africa and fellow South Africans,

Every year on 27 April, South Africans traditionally mark the celebration of own National Freedom Day.  This year marks 28 years since we attained our freedom.

2022 Freedom Day is celebrated under the theme:  “Consolidate our Democratic Gains”, to mark the country’s transition from the oppressive apartheid regime to a free democratic country. In this regard, we cannot mark the celebration of the 28th anniversary of democracy without remembering the great sacrifices by the many South Africans who lost their lives so that we can live in peace and freedom.

The first democratic elections on 27 April 1994 gave birth to our constitutional democracy.

For the majority of South Africans, who had never voted before, their dignity was restored and the country transformed to a non-racial, non-sexist and democratic society. It led to the emergence of a national identity built on a respect for each other and our love for the country.

This year’s Freedom Month celebration takes places as the country emerges after two years under the weight of COVID-19, which resulted in a high rate of unemployment and other economic pressures.  Recently we have also experienced the devastating floods in KwaZulu Natal and the Eastern Cape Province, in which 448 lives were recorded to be lost, and with thousands losing all their possessions.

In the spirit of Freedom Day, we will come together as one nation to rebuild our country, with vigour and determination.   I wish to commend the many South Africans and others that have contributed so generously in assisting in this effort.

There is certainly more that binds us together as South Africans and global friends, than that divides us. We will continue to strive to build on our many ties. South Africa’s national identity is built on mutual respect, tolerance and acceptance.

During Freedom Month, South Africans will also reflect on the progress made over our democratic journey. We will recommit ourselves to the Constitution, which is the foundation of our democracy and the very essence of what freedom means.

In an effort to mark this day, the South African government will continue to work in collaboration with civil society, various sectors, stakeholders and communities at large, to mark the milestones in the adoption of the Constitution and to reignite the common vision for unity in diversity and the culture of respect for human rights and the rule of law in South Africa.

Additionally, South Afrika will also commemorate this milestone with the inclusion of the international community in recognition of the pivotal role played by many countries around the world in the fight against apartheid and the birth of our constitutional democracy in 1994.

South Africa regards its relationship with the Federal Republic of Germany as being among its most treasured.  Germany is a strong strategic partner to South Africa and we have excellent bilateral relations, characterized by a continued, high-level interaction.

In closing, South Africa stands in solidarity with the global community in an effort to end the ongoing conflict in Ukraine through diplomatic efforts for a negotiated peaceful resolution.

As South Afrika marks the 28 years of democracy, we will continue to build on the significant progress made in the past 27 years of freedom and democracy. Each citizen has a responsibility to take charge and play an active role in building the South Africa we want.

Let us not give in to doubt and pessimism. Let us keep striving.

I thank you.

#SAEmbassyGermany

The Diplomatic Informer
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