Google’s Doodle has given a few nods to relevant dates in South Africa in the past. And, on 27 April 2019, the day we celebrate as Freedom Day, we got another one.
Freedom Day, in case you don’t know, celebrates freedom and commemorates the first post-apartheid elections held on that day in 1994.
A staggering 19.7m of the 22.7m eligible voters showed up at the polls to make their votes count in South Africa’s first non-racial election.
The ANC presidential candidate for that first election was the iconic Nelson Mandela, who is widely credited for brokering the peaceful transition of power in the country.
The ANC won the election with 62.65% of the vote. The National Party (NP) received 20.39%, Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) 10.54%, Freedom Front (FF) 2.2%, Democratic Party (DP) 1.7%, Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) 1.2% and the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) 0.5%.
Google Doodle on Freedom Day
Political parties on Freedom Day
South Africa is gearing up for its general elections on 8 May and the big parties have various events planned. If you’re looking to rally your support for one of the big three political parties, we’ve put together a list of Freedom Day events here.
Not so free
For many, 27 April is that day we all voted together for the first time. But the government also notes the day as something far more significant.
It marks “the end of over 300 years of colonialism, segregation and white minority rule and the establishment of a new democratic government led by Nelson Mandela and a new state subject to a new constitution”.
These are powerful words and speaks to the level of optimism many South Africans shared in 1994. However, groups of South Africans have taken to commemorate the day as UnFreedom Day.
They use 27 April to highlight how many things have not changed, especially economically, despite the increased political freedom enjoyed by all.