Telling stories of freedom

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Pretoria – As South Africa celebrates Heritage Month and its 20 Years of Freedom, staff at the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) spent a part of their Friday afternoon taking part in the ‘Tell your Story’ campaign.

Communications Deputy Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams took the lead in this vibrant expression of what it means to be truly and proudly South African.

The Tell your Story campaign forms part of the overall 20 Years of Freedom campaign.  Through the campaign, all South Africans, young and old, are given an opportunity to reflect on what it was like to live in apartheid South Africa, to consider the changes that have taken place, the challenges that remain and a way forward for the country.

Deputy Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams, who is a member of the Pondo clan from the Eastern Cape, shared her story during an afternoon filled with music, poetry and traditional dance.

She emphasised the importance of the campaign, saying it was one way of ensuring that people learn from each other. Through stories, she said, others are able to heal by listening to the experiences of their fellow man.

“Stories make us take pride in our country. Today, we are happy to tell our stories,” she said.

Former MK member and a Deputy Director at the GCIS, Lennox Klaas, told the audience about his experience, which led him to leave the country to join Umkhonto weSizwe.

Klaas grew up in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape. He described the conditions under the apartheid regime as unbearable. 

Determined to fight the apartheid regime, Klaas left the country and went into exile. He received training in Tanzania and Angola. 

While in exile, Klaas was tasked with radio activities. He was involved in hosting radio programmes at the then Radio Freedom. 

“I enjoyed every minute working for the radio. That led to me working for the GCIS,” he said.

Provincial Director Marius Nagel, from the Northern Cape, spoke about the changes he experienced in 1994 before and after the first democratic elections. 

The Tell Your Story campaign, initiated by the GCIS, is run in collaboration with a range of partners, with a view to share South Africa’s unique stories and promote nationhood.

Members of the public are encouraged to share their stories on Twitter @TellYourStoriesZA using the hashtag #CelebratingSAStories or to send these to for publishing on the SA Government Online website and Facebook page. -

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