Clock ticking to 20 years of Freedom

Friday, October 25, 2013

Soweto - With only six months to go before the country marks the 20th anniversary of freedom and democracy, South Africans from different walks of life have been called on to unite and take part in activities that promote a common consciousness.

South Africans have also been called to share their experiences, views, reflections and memories of what the last 20 years have meant to them.

Speaking at the launch of the countdown to the 20th anniversary clock at Maponya Mall in Soweto on Friday, Minister of Arts and Culture Paul Mashatile called on South Africans to unite in building and taking the country forward.

“We need to recognise our achievements and look at what we need to do as a nation to improve."

While acknowledging that there are still challenges, the minister said life is better now than it was 20 years ago.

He mentioned that the middle class, for example, had evolved to include more of the previously disadvantaged groups. “More than four million black South Africans for example are doing well financially and economically today,” he said.

He said South Africans, both black and white, must continue to take the country forward.

The countdown clock – which was unveiled at 183 days 17 hours, and 20 minutes to 20 years of freedom - is just one activity aimed at mobilising South Africans behind the celebrations.

Last month saw the launch of Freedom Friday, an initiative by Lead SA, in partnership with the Department of Art and Culture, Government Communications and Information System (GCIS), Proudly SA and Brand South Africa.

In their message of support, Lead SA’s Yusuf Abramjee called on South Africans to continue to wear whatever makes them proud to be South African on Friday. “It could be a sports jersey, traditional dress or beaded suit,” he said.

Countdown clocks will be mounted at 30 different public spaces across the country and will serve as a conscious reminder of what South Africans want to do every day for the next six months Mashatile told SAnews.

The clock, which is interactive, calls on South Africans to share their stories of the past and their vision for the future.

“The clock will remind us that the country has not fallen apart."

The minister said various digital media platforms will also be used to capture some of the crucial milestones our country has experienced and South Africans will also be encouraged to add to the content on what democracy means to them.

The minister said together with partners, the department will create excitement. “We have a good story to tell. We must accept and appreciate the fact that the country is a true democracy now. We have so much to celebrate while still dealing with some of the challenges such as service delivery.”

He added that if South Africans work together, the country can overcome the problems it faces.

Chairperson of the Social Cohesion Committee Yvonne Mokgoro called on all South Africans to use democracy to build a nation so that the rest of the world can take lessons.

She said South Africans must share the successes and challenges in a unifying manner.

"We must conduct ourselves with ubuntu to build a nation,” said Magoro.

Brand South Africa CEO Leslie Sedibe said South Africa was a stable democracy and was doing well.

While businessman and developer of Maponya Mall, Richard Maponya, said South Africans, from all works of life, should embrace the campaign, he also called on people to exercise their democratic right and vote in next years’ election. -

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