Umhlabuyalingana – Residents of uMhlabuyalingana in KwaZulu-Natal have turned up in their numbers to celebrate Freedom Day.
President Jacob Zuma will address the masses at uMhlabuyalingana Sports Ground in Manguzi.
The President is visiting the area for the second time. In March, President Zuma — accompanied by Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, State Security Minister David Mahlobo, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Willies Mchunu and KwaZulu-Natal Transport, Community Safety and Liaison MEC Mxolisi Kaunda — listened to what the community had to say about life in uMhlabuyalingana.
Community members complained about crime, particularly stock and vehicle theft.
UMhlabuyalingana is located in northern KwaZulu-Natal along the border with Mozambique to the north, the Indian Ocean to the east, Jozini Municipality to the west and the Big Five False Bay Municipality to the south.
Today is yet another occasion for the community to interact with the President. Given that the country is celebrating 23 years of freedom, many of the locals are pleased that government has brought the official event to their backyard.
Sizakele Maqwaza (39), a mother of two, shared with SAnewsher excitement over the recognition her community is receiving, in light of the area being a hotspot for cross-border crime.
“We never thought that this will happen here. I am also happy that the President is here,” she said.
Another local, Siphiwe Ndamani, said the hosting of the official celebration in uMhlabuyalingana is affirmation that government has not forgotten about them.
“We now have hope that government is going to bring development here and improve our lives.”
Ndamani said it is important that Freedom Day is celebrated every year to remind people of South Africa’s origins. “We come from a painful past. We should not forget where we come from.”
Government has rallied all South Africans to join the celebrations wherever they may be to honour the fact that freedom was not free, but was hard earned. A lengthy and costly battle was waged for years, the fruits of which continue to be reaped today, despite the work that remains to be done to propel the country towards achieving its goals of undoing the legacy of poverty, unemployment and inequality.
South Africa celebrates Freedom Day annually on 27 April. The theme for this year is ‘The year of OR Tambo: Together deepening democracy and building safer and crime-free communities’.
The celebrations coincide with the centenary of the late President and National Chairperson of the ANC, Oliver Reginald Tambo, an international icon and hero of the South African liberation struggle.
Freedom Day recognises and celebrates the strides made since 1994 and acknowledges that South Africa is a far better society than it was under the apartheid regime.
It is also a period of reflection on what needs to be done collectively towards the goal of building a prosperous society and improving the quality of life for all. – SAnews.gov.za