Let’s value democratic SA as it turns 24   

The month of April is one of the most important in South Africa, celebrated as Freedom Month. The country celebrates the major milestones it has achieved since attaining democracy in 1994. 
The African National Congress (ANC) in Bokone Bophirima has urged young people of the province to learn more about the history of South Africa and value the contribution made by many struggle stalwarts to get the country to where it is today. The ANC said the nation would forever celebrate this journey to democracy and the continued nurturing of this democracy. 
ANC Bokone Bophirima provincial spokesperson, Gerald Modise, said this year was even more befitting because it’s commemorated as the Year of Nelson Mandela, the first democratically elected president of South Africa. 
“Mandela had immensely contributed for the realisation of a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous society. We need to stay true to Mandela’s principles and be firmly committed to justice, equality and non-racialism. Mandela’s centenary celebration since his birth is an important opportunity to recommit ourselves to his principles and building the rainbow nation we hoped for at the start of our democracy,” he said. 
“The celebration also includes the centenary of struggle stalwart, Albertina Sisulu. We are also celebrating the 39th anniversary since the hanging of Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu on the 6th of April 1979,” he said.
Modise added that in addition, the country is celebrating the life of South African Communist Party (SACP) and ANC leader, Chris Hani, who was assassinated on the 10th of April 1993. This year also marks the 25th anniversary of the death of former ANC president, Oliver Reginald Tambo, on the 24th of April 1993. 
“We are also celebrating the 24th anniversary since our first democratic general elections in 1994. The month of April commemorates the historic occasion in 1994 when South Africa achieved freedom and democracy. All its citizens became free from the discrimination and oppression. This democracy assisted us to move away from hatred, divisions and a painful history to build a common future together.
“This month’s celebrations provide an opportunity for South Africans to work together and unite around a common agenda to build a united and prosperous South Africa as envisaged in the National Development Plan (NDP). The majority of our people have increased access to a wide range of basic services. More opportunities have been created for the vast majority to participate in the economy,” Modise said.
Taung-based entrepreneur, James Gadinabokao, said Freedom Month means a lot, especially to young people. 
“You will remember that the Class of 1976 fought against the apartheid system and refused to be taught in Afrikaans. The apartheid government wanted to colonise the minds of black children. The ANC-led government has done so well in improving the lives of Africans and black people in particular.
“Education is free for those who are underprivileged and this includes at tertiary level. We need to understand that education is a liberation tool anywhere in the world. I would like to encourage our young people to take it seriously and stop indulging in alcohol and drug abuse. Our youth are our future leaders and they will inherit the legacy of our struggle heroes. So, it is important for the youth to explore many opportunities made available,” Gadinabokao said. 
Kgosi Tshepo Frederick Mankuroane of Batlhaping Baga-Phuduhucwana, said traditional leaders are proud to have contributed immensely to the realization of democracy. 
“We need to unite and continue with the struggle. There are many opportunities available for the youth and it is also important for them to continue with what the likes of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Dr Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu and others have done. The struggle will continue until the country does not experience unemployment, inequality and poverty anymore,” said Kgosi Mankuroane.