Freedom blooms despite lockdown
What does Freedom Day mean to the youngsters of Nelson Mandela Bay — especially under lockdown?
For many children in the Bay, Freedom Day is a time to celebrate Nelson Mandela and everyone else who fought for the right of South Africans to vote.
For some, it means enjoying the public holiday with loved ones. For others, it’s a day when their elders share struggle stories.
Malabar twins Satteya and Matteo Saffockien said they were more fortunate than their grandparents, adding that the sky was the limit for them.
“Our grandparents had very little to no rights — it was prescribed where and when they could or could not go,” the pair said.
Satteya, 14, said her father was able only to complete his matric when he was 50 because of the challenges of apartheid.
“And while my mother completed her high school career, she was forced to do home economics even though she wanted to do woodwork.
“She was told that woodwork was for boys.”
Matteo said they were reaping the fruits of democracy.
“We have so [many] more rights compared to our parents. We have the right to an education, for example.
“The best part of having these rights is that we can become anything our heart desires,” Matteo said.
Luminathi Gedze, 10, said though all South Africans had been given the opportunity to vote for change in 1994, there was still no unity today.
“I don’t really know what democracy is, but we are not living in harmony.
“A rainbow nation is when everyone is happy and at peace with one another,” she said.
Leira Lentoor, 11, said for her April 27 served as a reminder of the strides struggle heroes had made.
“Freedom Day reminds me of the apartheid era and how Nelson Mandela and other oppressed South Africans had to fight for equal rights.
“I believe that some of the fruits of our democracy are being able to attend any school, play any sport, have friends of any race and, more importantly, when I am old enough I will have a right to vote,” she said.
Lentoor said though the country was celebrating Freedom Day in lockdown because of the Covid-19 pandemic this year, it did not change the importance of the day.
“I am still grateful we get to celebrate this as we now have equal rights,” she said.
Lunathi Yapi, 9, said Freedom Day was a day that commemorated April 27 1994 — when all South Africans voted for the first time — adding that the historic elections opened the country up to various forms of freedom.
“We are also free to be Christians,” he said, adding that racism was now condemned.
For Lisakhanya Qunta, 11, Freedom Day is a SA holiday that commemorates the first postapartheid elections in 1994.
She said her parents often shared stories about what freedom was.
“I don’t do much on Freedom Day but today, unlike in the past, we are able to go anywhere we want and I have the right to education, and I can go to any school.
“We can basically do whatever we want. But I’m not too sure what democracy is,” she said.