Freedom Day celebrations underway

Scores of people have descended on the Union Buildings for the National Freedom Day celebrations.

FILE: Scores of people have descended on the Union Buildings for the National Freedom Day celebration. Picture: Lesego Ngobeni/EWN.

PRETORIA - Proceedings at the Union Buildings in Pretoria are now underway, celebrating 20 years of democracy.

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, who is attending the National Freedom Day celebrations, says citizens should not take their freedom for granted.

President Jacob Zuma will address the nation.

Live performances are also underway.

Mthethwa inspected the police's exhibition and greeted South Africans from all walks of life on the front lawns of the Union Buildings.

He says the country has a lot to celebrate considering the kind of oppression enforced during apartheid.

"It's a freedom which was fought under very difficult circumstances. The people of our country endured a lot of pain."

Mthethwa says post-apartheid freedom must be appreciated.

"Our democracy over the past 20 years has moved from strength to strength and we have all the reasons to celebrate."

Mthethwa and other ministers in Zuma's cabinet will be attending similar events throughout the day.

Meanwhile, religious groups have also met at Freedom Park in Pretoria to pray for the country's democracy.

Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile convened proceedings this morning.

Dozens of people descended on Freedom Park this morning for an interfaith service and a wreath laying ceremony for Freedom Day.

Religious groups have been represented including Islam, Christianity and Rastafarians, all praying for South Africa to unite.

A wreath was laid at the Isivivane where spirits are believed to lie at Freedom Park.

One you man says he hopes for change in the future.

"I think South Africa has improved because during that time there was a lot of isolation occurring, but now things are different. People are treated equally."

People walked barefoot as a symbol of respect to the ancestors.