Durban - President Kgalema Motlanthe has urged South Africans to remember and be thankful to those who sacrificed their lives to realise the freedoms that they enjoy today.
"A generation of youth sacrificed their lives knowing that they did not have the right to grow up and grow old and to live long and productive lives.
"Let us remember them and be thankful for their sacrifices, heroism and selflessness, which often included loss of life and limb, and invariably, loss of youth, all for the noble cause of freedom."
President Motlanthe was addressing the thousands of people gathered at Durban's Absa Stadium to mark Freedom Day on Monday. Held under the theme: 'Together celebrating a vibrant democracy and build in abetter life for all', Freedom Day is a call to all South Africans to be proud of the vibrant democracy.
Freedom Day is held each year on 27 April to mark the anniversary of the first democratic elections. South Africa's fourth General Election took place last week.
Straining to be heard over the jubilant crowds, the President said: "In celebrating this day, we fully honour the commendable heroism and sacrifice over years of the struggle to win our freedom, with the solidarity of people from across the globe."
He said South Africans must recommit to continuing with the struggle for the improvement of the lives of all, irrespective of race, gender or station in life, adding that individual and collective acts, would usher in a new era of peace and democracy.
President Motlanthe urged for the continued transformation of South African into a space in which children can thrive and lead creative and fulfilling lives.
"Warriors have died for us. Youth have given their lives for us. Generations have fought for this precious and treasured fifteen years of freedom. Let us pledge to past generations that we shall build a better world for South Africans," said President Motlanthe.
The event was also attended by Minister of Arts and Culture Pallor Jordan and KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sibusiso Ndebele.
Freedom Day celebrations kicked off with a cultural parade where the Umthwalume Brass Band played and different cultural groups and churches such as the Nazareth Baptist Church, St John's Church showcased their colourful religions.
The day was also blessed through the prayers of various religions such as Islam, Hindu and Christian.
Local musicians of the likes of gospel sensation Deborah Fraiser, maskandi singer Phuzakhemisi and Kwaito stars AfroSoul and DJ Tira entertained the crowds in the afternoon.