On 27 April 1994 the majority of South Africans voted for the first time in their lives. Against the backdrop of the non-racial democratic elections of 1994, April 27 was declared Freedom Day, an opportunity to celebrate the liberation of the South African people from colonialism and from the domination of the white minority during the apartheid period. One of the main consequences of the anti-apartheid struggle was gaining democracy, which gives every South African citizen, irrespective of race, gender, religion, education and profession, the right to vote and to be voted within Parliament and Government. In 1994, former President Nelson Mandela voted for the first time at the age of 76. In his opinion, “April 27 marked the passage from a conflictual past to unity and peace, from inequality to equality, from an oppressive history to a free future.”
The 1994 election paved the way towards a new democratic dispensation and a new constitution for the country. The elections took place in a peaceful and festive atmosphere, though there were threats of political violence.
In Romania, Freedom Day will be marked through a concert given by world-renowned South African artists Ben Schoeman, pianist, and Njabulo Madlala, baritone, on April 27, at Bucharest’s Promenada Mall.
South Africa at a glance
• Area 1,22 million km2
• Population 50,6m (estimate)
• Head of the State: President Jacob Zuma
• 11 Official languages with English the business language
• Total GDP: 2013 R3 385 bn (US$ 350.7 million)
• GDP 2013 per capita: R 64 025 (US$ 6 634)
• Real GDP Growth: 1.9% (2013)
• Inflation (CPI): 5,7% (2013 annual average)
• Main Exports; minerals & mineral products, precious metals & metal products, chemical & food products, automotives & components.
• Main trading partners: China, USA, Japan Germany, India & the UK.