Namibian President guest of honour on Freedom Day

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Pretoria - Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba will be South Africa’s guest of honour at this weekend’s Freedom Day Celebrations, the Presidency said on Thursday.

According to the Presidency, Pohamba, who is also the chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security, will join President Jacob Zuma in officiating at the 20th anniversary celebrations of liberation and democracy on Sunday.

The celebrations will be held at the Union Buildings.

South Africa will mark the 20th anniversary celebrations under the theme ‘ South Africa - A Better Place to live in’, recognising the strides the country has made in consolidating democracy, building a new nation and improving the quality of life of all, especially the poor and the working class.

The 1994 national general elections gave birth to the country’s freedom and constitutional democracy that many enjoy today.

"On April 27 each year, we look back at what we left behind - a repressive, racist pariah state that rode roughshod over the rights of the majority, and built a new non-racial, united democratic South Africa.

“For the majority of South Africans who had never voted before, their dignity was restored on 27 April 1994. For the first time, they could determine who would lead the country and fundamentally transform it from an apartheid state to a non-racial, non-sexist and democratic South Africa. April 27 is therefore the most important day on the calendar of our new young democracy,'' said President Zuma.

The elections led to the emergence of a national identity built on a respect for each other, the value of human dignity and equality, as well as South Africans’ common love for the country.

Since 1994, South Africans have worked hard to construct a society that is set out in the Constitution and to address the socio-economic challenges created under apartheid.

Earlier this year, the Presidency released the Twenty Year Review (1994-2014) that confirms progress the country has made since 1994.

“Overall, it confirms that South Africa has a good story to tell and that it is a much better place to live in now than it was before 1994,” noted the Presidency.

On the same day President Zuma will also confer National Orders.

National Orders are the highest awards that the country bestows upon citizens and members of the international community who have contributed meaningfully towards making the country a free, democratic and successful nation, united in its diversity.

This will be the 20th investiture ceremony since the inception of the new National Orders system, contributing towards unity, reconciliation and building the nation.

Deserving recipients will be bestowed with the Order of Mendi for Bravery, the Order of Ikhamanga, the Order of the Baobab, the Order of Luthuli, the Order of Mapungubwe, and the Order of the Companions of OR Tambo. -

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