23 years ago, the 27th of April 1994, South Africa had its first non-racial democratic election. This day pronounced the end of over 300 years of colonialism and segregation and is since then celebrated as Freedom Day. 23 years after, have things really changed? Are people still passionate about Freedom, one of their inalienable human rights? Do they feel free?
To put Freedom in motion and to collect the voices of people on this special day, Africa Unite organised a youth arts event on the 29th of April at the busy Gugulethu Mall, where more than 300 people were shopping and running their afternoon errands. This enabled us to create a congestion at the Mall as people were enjoying the dance moves.
Freedom is not just a concept, or at least it shouldn’t be. It is a feeling, a right that’s meant to come alive every single day through our moves, our words; something we will sometimes have to fight for. That’s what was expressed through the choreography performed by Xclamation, an upcoming dance group from Klupmonts we partnered with for this event. The dancers, aged from 8 to 21, proved that Freedom is not a matter of age. It is an issue for everybody, not only for old generations who suffered the burden of segregation.
The children theater group of Christ Way High, led by Grant Solomon, also took part in our event. It was an opportunity for the children to remind the adults how significant Freedom is to all ages – Freedom of speech, Freedom to move, Freedom to access quality education, Freedom to access water sanitation and drink potable water, etc.
For this 23rd celebration of the Freedom Day, Africa Unite chose to give people space to express themselves and share their views on the past 23 years of freedom. To collect these voices we displayed a banner in which people were free to write their views on the question, “What does 23 years of Freedom meant to you?” More than 50 wrote their views on this banner.
This was a stark reminder to the people that there is no Freedom without them and this Freedom should be enjoyed by everyone living in South Africa. We also invited them to take part in the dancing or speak if they felt like, and many people took time out of their busy days to share their thoughts (and moves!) with us.
We have chosen to make a big noise after the event in Gugulethu, so stay tuned on our social media pages, Facebook and Youtube more particularly. We will release the testimonies and the video of the event soon. We are working on an enquiry too, to collect more widely people’s testimony about Freedom in different communities of Cape Town. If you want to participate please contact us at 021- 461-6551 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you to our partners for this event: the Xclamation dance group and the children Theater group of Christway High for their performance, the Management team and the Security team of Gugulethu Square for enabling us to organise the event in the mall, the SIYON Motion Studios Team for capturing these beautiful moments of freedom and Dean Jates for the sound.