On Freedom

Jen Thorpe

Jen Thorpe

By Jen Thorpe

This month we celebrate Freedom day on 27 April. The day marks the day the first democratic elections were held in South Africa.

I’m currently reading ‘Birth’ by Peter Harris, and I encourage you all to read it. The first election was not a simple event to organise given the poor administration of homelands by the apartheid government, Afrikaner right wing factions, unwillingness of the IFP to get involved, scandal, violence and attempts to alter results. Each election since then has seemed to simply happen without incident, and it’s something we all just assume when queuing to vote. There is much work that goes into making sure we can make our mark, and free and fair elections are something we should feel very proud of.

Rights and freedoms are not things that can be taken for granted. I am grateful for our constitution because it protects so many of them. In SA we often here the word ‘freedom’ bandied about. We also often hear about ‘rights’. Often this is in a language that makes it seem that we have no role to play in upholding and protecting these.

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” Nelson Mandela

This month on FeministsSA we’ve asked some of our frequent and core contributors to let you know about the rights and freedoms that they are concerned about, and those that are important to them. We’d also like to ask you to submit pieces on freedoms and rights in South Africa that you think are in question, or ones that you are flourishing.

There is the saying ‘rights come with responsibilities’, and that’s why I encourage you all to get involved in making submissions at public hearings on legislation, or to attend marches when you feel they uphold your cause. Don’t let the world just happen to you – be a participant.

Have a great month,

Love Jen

 

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