SA reflects on 20 years of freedom

Struggle veterans and young people have reflected on what South Africa has and has not achieved.

FILE: Struggle veterans and young people have reflected on what South Africa has and has not achieved. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Today marks exactly 20 years since South Africa's first ever democratic elections and with this year's 7 May polls now just over a week away, struggle veterans and young people have reflected on what the country has and has not achieved.

Several Freedom Day celebrations have been planned throughout the country.

President Jacob Zuma is due to address the nation from the Union Buildings later this morning.

As anti-apartheid activists this week recalled what it took to gain freedom 20 years ago, South Africa's born free generation is preparing to vote for the first time.

Struggle veteran Ahmed Kathrada says he is proud of what has been achieved so far, but after the elections government should focus on the future.

"We have to look back and see what we have achieved in the 20 years and look forward on what we still have before us."

This Johannesburg student says she is going to the 7 May polls well aware of whom she will vote for.

"I think it's an essential human rights to exercise. I feel that I have what it takes to hold my government accountable and to change things."

Zuma's address will be followed by celebrations at the Union Buildings.

At the same time, today holds great significance not just for South Africans, but for those who helped the country's struggle for freedom from overseas.

Anti-apartheid activist Reverend Jesse Jackson believes those who fought for freedom should always be remembered.

'We honour them today by continuing the work that they began. Today all of us are free but not equal. The struggle continues."

For the likes of Oprah Winfrey, South Africa's democracy has had a deep impact.

"For my own personal development, nothing that has happened in my life would have happened had they not had the courage to stand."

Locals abroad will be voting this Wednesday.