There is probably no better day to remember that the day of freedom.
Such it is today in South Africa where ordinary people are celebrating the freedom of Nelson Mandela, and therefore their own freedom, 20 years ago.
“Thousands of admirers flocked to the former Victor Verster Prison in Drakenstein near Cape Town where Mandela was last held and where a 10-foot (3-meter) high bronze statue depicting Mandela’s first steps as a free man after 27 years behind bars now stands…,” The Associated Press.
21 years ago, the oppression of black South Africans by a few minority European descendants was almost never ending.
The hope that black South Africans would eventually be free in their own country was still a mere desire.
But today, it is a reality that has fast become history; the history about human struggle and freedom.
Now 91, Mandela is not only an international acclaimed icon but also a symbol of hope for those who will ever dream of freedom and believe that they would be free one day.
“Viva Mandela, viva Mandela!”!” that was part of the shouting today by the Stalwarts of Mandela’s ‘African National Congress’ who linked their arms together and re-enacted Mandela’s 1990 walk through the prison gates.
“We knew that his freedom meant that our freedom had also arrived,” Cyril Ramaphosa an ANC leader who headed a welcome committee for Mandela, 20 years ago.
“I still remember vividly what happened… Today we are reinventing our freedom, and uniting our people to follow the values of Mandela,” said one of the men who was also in prison 20 years ago.
Saying of Mandela, one Elizabeth Davids admitted that from his release until today, Mandela has always meant a lot to South Africa.
“He freed us all from apartheid. Before we never mixed with each other, coloureds, whites and blacks were separate but now we all mix together and are like one nation”.
If one man can heal several deep wounds and free an entire nation, then the human race must learn the meaning of freedom and choose to be free.
Ewanfoh Obehi Peter
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