South Africa will commemorate 27 years of freedom from apartheid and racial segregation on Tuesday, 27th April 2021. It is hard to believe that only a mere 27 years ago, black and mixed-race voters all stood in meandering voting lines across the country to cast their first ballots.
Freedom Day is the commemoration of the first democratic elections held in South Africa on 27 April 1994 that gave birth to South Africa’s constitutional democracy. These were the first post-apartheid national elections to be held in the country where anyone could vote regardless of race.
There were 19.7 million of the 22,7 million eligible voters who participated in the monumental national election of 1994 that set into motion the transformation for a new South Africa. Dignity and hope were restored for a country that could now strive for a future with no discrimination based on race, age, sex, or disability.
The African National Congress (ANC) gained a majority vote during this election, and the leader of the liberation movement, Nelson Mandela, became the first democratically elected President of the country. As we commemorate Freedom Day, we acknowledge and honour the countless sacrifices of many South Africans who fought against the oppressive rule of the white minority.
(All Covid-19 protocols are strictly adhered to by staff and passengers. These include private group tours, wearing masks, sanitising hands regularly, and social distancing.)
Guided Route 67 tours
Route 67 is an engaging journey that consists of 67 public artworks to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s 67 years of public life dedicated to the freedom struggle in South Africa. The route includes 67 steps leading up to the second-largest flag in Africa.
The entire route is a proud celebration of the city’s heritage and history that reflects the diversity of cultural, racial, and ethnic backgrounds within the society. Significant artworks to note on Freedom Day include the Voting Line figures, the largest South African flag, and the piece known as the Election Queue/Votes of the Future.
The Voting Line by Anthony Harris and Konrad Geel is a collection of life-size laser-cut steel figures that form a symbolic voting line. Prominently featured is a figure of Nelson Mandela with a fist raised in triumph, leading a line of South Africans representing the voters who cast their ballots in the country’s first democratic elections on 27 April 1994.
Within the art journey and found on the Donkin Reserve is the biggest South African flag. The flagpole is 65m high and the second highest flagpole in Africa. Depending on the weather, the flag is raised and lowered by Prince Alfred’s Guards every day. The South African national flag was first flown on 27 April 1994, the day of the 1994 election.
What is known as the Election Queue and Votes of the future is a piece by The Workplace Architects. The Voting Queue represents the voting line that was formed during the 1994 elections. While the VOTES OF THE FUTURE is a second application on to the Voting Queue path that saw over 3 000 of Nelson Mandela Bay’s youth leave their mark as future voters.
South End and South End Museum Tour
The area was an epicentre of cultural diversity by being home to a mixed community of Xhosa, English, Afrikaans, Malay, Greek, Portuguese, and Chinese people, to name a few. Sadly, the community was uprooted with the re-location of all non-whites when, in 1948, the National Party was elected to power and the Apartheid laws were implemented.
The South End Museum showcases the history of the once thriving community and tells the story of the many injustices experienced by non-whites. One of the displays is a massive floor map of the old South End. Other rooms contain photographic memories of the community and its sporting achievements, as well as tributes to the heroes who lived here.
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