Thursday, April 27, 2006

Happy Freedom Day

Today, April 27th is South African Freedom Day, in commeration of the first democratic elections in 1994.

I believe it's an important day, not just for South Africans but for everyone who loves freedom, so please join in celebrating with us.

In 1994 I served as an Independent Election Commission monitor, and got to experience the whole election first hand, up close and personal. It was a triumph of democracy and I am proud that I was a part of it.

For me the election lasted over a week, firstly with monitoring advance voting on an army base. I got to see all the undercover Intelligence agents going in to vote, but I didn't recognize anyone. Then, starting on the 27th I was based at a polling station in Athlone in Capetown over the 3 days of official voting, until the ballot boxes were sealed and sent to the counting station at the Good Hope Center. I was allowed in as a monitor to watch the counting process of the ballots and assisted resolving all kinds of issues.

It was an incredible experience to have been part of the founding moments of South African democracy, and in many ways I personally experienced a sense of Freedom unlike I had ever done before. It stands as a moment that is about Freedom for all South Africans and humanity as a whole. Freedom and democracy don't just happen, they require work to sustain them, and hard won Freedoms can be taken away if we are not careful. Thus it is important to cherish and remember what it took to gain our Freedom and what we need to do to keep it.

It was also incredibly hard work and I appreciate that it is now a public holiday in South Africa, it's just a pity I can't celebrate it here in France, but hopefully I can have a braai this weekend!

Viva Freedom! Viva South Africa!

1 comment:

qrswave said...

thanks for the info. I didn't know that.

Happy South African Freedom day!..:)