Union Buildings to play host to Freedom Day celebrations

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pretoria - The Union Buildings will serve as the permanent venue for Freedom Day celebrations, Cabinet announced on Thursday.

The sandstone building with beautiful terraced gardens is the site of the presidential offices. It was in these gardens that former president Nelson Mandela's inauguration ceremony was held in1994.

The gardens also house numerous statues and memorials, including statues of former presidents and a war memorial. 

Briefing the media following Cabinet's ordinary meeting this week, Cabinet spokesperson Jimmy Manyi said this year's celebrations will give South Africans the chance to reflect on the path to building a united, non-racial, non-sexist country. 

"Cabinet calls on all South Africans to claim the symbolism of this month by actively participating in key events," Manyi said. 

Freedom Day commemorates the first democratic elections held in South Africa on 27 April 1994- every year.

Seventeen years after the first Freedom Day was commemorated - President Jacob Zuma will lead the national celebrations under the theme "Working together to unite the nation, promote democracy and protect our freedom."

The day will celebrate the continuing hope and resilience of South African people, as they work together to achieve the vision in the Constitution. 

Manyi said the provinces are also encouraged to display and celebrate their diverse heritage and culture.

He said Cabinet will also celebrate May Day also known as Worker's Day saying it is a direct product of South Africa's democracy. 

Cabinet encouraged the protection of democracy by calling upon the nation to participate in the local government election on 18 May 2011, said Manyi.