The countdown to the 20th anniversary of freedom and democracy next year has begun, with a logo to mark the milestone having been unveiled on Monday by Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile.
Speaking before unveiling the logo, with the message that reads '20 Years of Freedom - South Africa 1994-2014', Mashatile said South Africans should remember that freedom and democracy came at a price.
"It was not free. Many [compatriots] sacrificed life and limb in order for us to enjoy this freedom and democracy. Let us therefore continue to work together to defend … expand the gains of our liberation.
"The countdown towards the historic milestone of our 20 years of liberation begins today. We take this opportunity to call on all South Africans to participate fully in the build-up programme towards our 20th anniversary celebrations," he said.
Next year on April 27, South Africa will celebrate 20 years of freedom and democracy. Mashatile said the historic occasion presented an opportunity for the nation to reflect on the path the country has walked towards freedom.
He said some of the activities that will form part of the build-up programme include the recognition of unsung heroes and organisations that contributed to the demise of apartheid, and activities aimed at expressing gratitude to the international community for supporting the struggle for liberation.
Mashatile said there will also be massive school essay competitions and a participatory process to identify 20 big achievements that are collectively owned by South Africans.
Uniting South Africans
Also critical to the success of the build-up campaign and beyond is the on-going implementation of the Social Cohesion Action Plan.
This plan was agreed to by all stakeholders at the historic National Summit on Social Cohesion, held in Kliptown, Soweto, last year.
"It is also an opportunity to look back at the road we have travelled since 1994 to deepen the gains of our freedom and democracy.
"Going forward, it is an opportunity for us to work together to implement the National Development Plan - Vision for 2030 - as our nation's long-term vision and a basis for collective action and partnerships across society," he said.
Struggle hero Andrew Mlangeni, who was also present at the logo unveiling, said: "A lot of houses have been built for the poor since the dawn of democracy in 1994 and most of those houses have been electrified.
"While more people have access to clean water, however, my regret as a struggle hero is that the service at our public hospitals leaves much to be desired. The future to build this country is in our hands, so let's work together with government to continue building a prosperous country."
Former politica prisoner and anti-apartheid activist, Ahmed Kathrada, said South Africans should unite to tackle the struggle against poverty, hunger and unemployment.
Human rights lawyer George Bizos, who represented Walter Sisulu and Nelson Mandela in the Rivonia Trial, said those who think that nothing has been done or achieved since the dawn of democracy were doing the country a disservice.
Former Speaker of the National Assembly, Frene Ginwala, said while South Africans should be grateful about their efforts to create a wonderful Constitution, government should start printing comic books for the youth, explaining how the Constitution works.
"There must be civic education in all the public schools so that our kids can be taught about the liberation struggle of this country. Again, all our public schools should fly the national flag." - SAnews.gov.za