On the 27th April 1994 South Africans saw the dawning of the most awaited day, the first non-racial national elections where everyone over 18 years, from any race group was allowed to vote. The day was later called Freedom Day and became South African public holiday.
We asked South Africans what this day means to them and to reflect on how they felt 21 years ago.
It was one of the best days of my life. The vibe in the queue was amazing, everyone was upbeat and looking forward to a new era. I don't think any of us can forget. #NoRegrets!— Heather Stip via CapeTalk
I went to Wits Tecnikon opposite Park Station.It was about 10hoo am but the queue was too long.The same story at City hall.I schlepped to the Civic centre in Braamfontein and ended at Sir Edmund Hillary Primary School in JoubertPark.I gave up.I caught a taxi home to Tembisa at about 19h00 pm.Before going home I tried our local school,Masisebenze High but the same story. It was well past 20h00.I gave up dejected. But somehow I had a sense that voting would be extended.And I was right.The following day at about 10h00 I went back to Sir Edmund Hillary School.Lo and behold.It was only me and the voting officials.What a relief,what joy!— Alfred Ledwaba via 702
It felt like this: young old black white rich poor... that queue gave me a glimpse of peoples' equality before God. I remember me and my domestic worker at the time standing in that queue, when she said "Mvu (her nickname for me), hierdie is soos ons eendag voor die Here gaan staan, nê? Want daar is net een entrance vir almal". She entered His Kingdom years ago. By the same gate that I hopefully one day may walk through too. RIP Anna Mahlangu ☆— Birgit Coertze via 702
It holds in the highest regard for the [27th April] day in 1994 when the first democratic election was held in South Africa, the day the nation in conclusion cast & throw it’s secret ballot papers in the first democratic election in the Motherland/Fatherland and to mark the liberation of our country and its people from a long period of colonialism and apartheid. On balance, all went free and fair for freedom— Motau Ralefatane via 702
The day in 1994 was really really special...one of those historical and yet heartfelt community everyone is one feeling....feeling nothing today— Tina Schilling via CapeTalk
I remember the day crystal clearly. I was in Observatory Johannesburg and stood in a line all the way down Observatory Ave hundreds stood patiently waiting to cast their vote. Women and men dressed up specially for the occasion and singing vibrant songs as they waited.
What a feeling. A celebration of true liberation. The smiles were on every single person I could lay my eyes on.
People were high-fiving and embracing. It was truly memorable.
Blessed to have been there. History Made.— Naseema Mustapha via 702
On this 21st anniversary of our democracy let's not wallow in our historical successes. Commemorate them by all means - but the next 21 years are going to be harder and more important to create future for our children and grandchildren— Bruce Whitfield - CapeTalk/702 Presenter
I was a student at WITS on 27 April 1994, bitterly disappointed to be too young to vote. But I will never forget the sense of excitement and anticipation on campus – a big wave of hope arising beneath us all, which filtered into every lecture hall. Freedoms which I had taken for granted my whole life, were suddenly reflected in a whole new light. I hope we continue to use Freedom Day as an opportunity to remember that momentous achievement, and recommit to the freedoms which were won so hard.— Pippa Hudson Presenter - Cape Talk afternoon show (1-3pm)
I was too young to vote in 1994, but I remember the excitement on my Grandmother's face as I accompanied her to the polls that day. She turned to me and said: 'Too many people paid the ultimate price for us to enjoy this freedom; we should never take it for granted— Africa Melane - 702/CapeTalk Weekend Breakfast presenter
See the 27th of April 1994 reflected in this video
This article first appeared on 702 : What does Freedom Day mean to you, South Africa?