Freedom Day celebrations kicked off in the capital on Tuesday, with an address expected from President Jacob Zuma shortly.
Thousands gathered at the Union Buildings as the country commemorated 16 years since the first democratic election on April
Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane opened the celebrations calling on South Africans to make 2010 a year to remember as the country hosted the 2010 World Cup.
“Lets make sure we raise the flag, that we sing the national
anthem… lets spread the message that today is better than yesterday, tomorrow will be better than today,” Mokonyane said.
The celebration was attended by heavyweights from across the political spectrum, including Congress of the People parliamentary leader Mvume Dandala, Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader
Athol Trollip and representatives from the Independent Democrats, the United Democratic Movement and the Inkatha Freedom Party.
Trollip told South Africans that the country could not afford to de-generate as many other post-colonial African countries had.
“We must protect the South African miracle,” he said.
Dandala said after 16 years there was much to celebrate in South Africa, adding, however, that “economic bondage” remained a challenge.
He called on all South Africans to “nurture good relations amongst all” and urged racial tolerance.
“Today lets be happy to wake up in a place with so much possibility and be ready to welcome the world to our shores as we host the world cup,” he said.
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