Google releases doodle to commemorate Freedom Day in South Africa
- South Africa
Happy Freedom Day, South Africa!
Today Google illustrates a beautiful doodle to celebrates freedom and commemorates the first post-apartheid elections held on that day in 1994. Today, South Africa celebrates Freedom Day to mark the liberation of the country and its people from a long period of colonialism and white minority domination (apartheid).
On this day in 1994, South Africa held its first post-apartheid elections, which granted citizens—regardless of their race—and equal opportunity to vote for their national leaders. Today's Doodle honors this milestone anniversary, recognized annually as South Africa's Freedom Day, with a depiction of the country's national flower: the protea. The African National Congress (ANC) was then voted into power, and Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as the President of South Africa on 10 May.
South African general election, 1994
The elections were the first non-racial national elections where everyone of voting age of over 18 from any race group, including foreign citizens permanently resident in South Africa, were allowed to vote. Previously, under the apartheid regime, non-whites, in general, had only limited rights to vote while black South Africans had no voting rights whatsoever. It is part of the twelve public holidays determined by the Public Holidays Act (No. 36 of 1994).
Millions queued in lines over a four-day voting period. Altogether, 19,726,579 votes were counted, and 193,081 were rejected as invalid. As widely expected, the African National Congress (ANC), whose slate incorporated the labour confederation COSATU and the South African Communist Party, won a sweeping victory, taking 62 percent of the vote, just short of the two-thirds majority required to unilaterally amend the Interim Constitution.
As required by that document, the ANC formed a Government of National Unity with the National Party and the Inkatha Freedom Party, the two other parties that won more than 20 seats in the National Assembly. The new National Assembly's first act was to elect Nelson Mandela as President, making him the country's first black chief executive.
"As dawn ushered in this day, the 27th of April 1994, few of us could suppress the welling of emotion, as we were reminded of the terrible past from which we come as a nation; the great possibilities that we now have; and the bright future that beckons us. And so we assemble here today, and in other parts of the country, to mark a historic day in the life of our nation. Wherever South Africans are across the globe, our hearts beat as one, as we renew our common loyalty to our country and our commitment to its future." - President Nelson Mandela addressed Parliament on the first commemoration of the holiday.
The date 27 April is now a public holiday in South Africa, Freedom Day. but today's observances also remind South Africans of the ways they can continue to unify the great nation in the name of equality.