Interfaith service commemorates 20 years of freedom

President Jacob Zuma and Gauteng Premier David Makhura addressed members of different religions.

FILE: An interfaith service is being held to commemorate 20 years of freedom. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - An interfaith service being held to commemorate 20 years of freedom is underway in which the religious community is being thanked for their contribution in defeating the apartheid system.

President Jacob Zuma and Gauteng Premier David Makhura earlier addressed members of different religions who were gathered at the Regina Mundi Church in Soweto.

There are several other ministers and African National Congress (ANC) leaders in attendance as well as struggle heroes such as father Michael Lapsley.

Professor Farid Esack, who played a crucial role in the United Democratic Front during the apartheid era, says the religious leaders who are now being celebrated emerged to fight apartheid in difficult circumstances.

"It often emerged, not because of their councils of deputies but despite their councils of deputies."

He says because of their sacrifice, all religions are free to be practiced in the country.

"There isn't another country in the world where people are as free to express their religious identity as this country. There isn't another country in the world where you are as free to be Muslim as in South Africa."