Freedom Day - South Africa - April 27

Freedom Day is a public holiday in South Africa that is celebrated on April 27th. If April 27 falls on  Sunday, the holiday is postponed to Monday. 

Freedom Day is South Africa's national day and is a day of glory and remembrance for all South Africans marking the end of the apartheid era.

Freedom Day commemorates the first elections after the end of the apartheid regime in South Africa, which were held on the same day in 1994.

These were the first national elections in which anyone over the age of 18, from any South African racial group, was allowed to vote.

In those elections, Nelson Mandela was elected President of South Africa. Until that time the non-white and foreign South African citizens had no right to vote.

This holiday is one of the twelve holidays prescribed by law in South Africa.

Following his election as president, Nelson Mandela delivered a speech in Parliament:

"As a new 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."

South Africa flag

Millions of citizens stood in long lines for four days of voting. A total of 19,726,579 votes were counted and 193,081 were rejected as invalid. As expected, the African National Congress (ANC) won a landslide victory, winning 62% of the vote, just under the two-thirds majority required for a unilateral amendment to the Interim Constitution.

The ANC formed a national unity government with the National Party and the Inkatha Freedom Party, the other two parties that won more than 20 seats in the National Assembly.

The first act of the new National Assembly was the election of Nelson Mandela as president, making him the country's first black president.

Aerial view of Cape Town on the Atlantic coast Credit: wirestock

Some interesting facts about South Africa:

Johannesburg is the largest city in the country. It has been completely rebuilt four times.

South Africa is the largest producer of macadamia nuts in the world.

The first human heart transplant took place at a Cape Town hospital in 1967.

It is estimated that there are about 3,000 shipwrecks off the coast of South Africa.

Hotels in South Africa - In South Africa there are 71,300 hotel rooms for rent.

South Africa is the only country in the world where two Nobel laureates have come from the same street: Vilakazi Street in the heart of the town of Soweto where two South African leaders lived; Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela.

Route 62, Western Cape, is the longest wine route in the world: It is 850 kilometers long and leads from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth and along its length you will see vineyards and wineries and nice villages where you can stop and drink wine.

If you want to bungy jump in one of the highest places in the world, drive to the Bloukrans Bridge, where there is a 216 meter high bungy jump site.

There are eight amazing world heritage sites in South Africa.

About 20% of the world's gold is mined in South Africa.

South Africa coloring pages

Bloukrans Bridge

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