Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

South Africa: Anthems of Democracy - the Country's Artists Celebrate 20 Years With a Song and Dance

analysis

This year's Freedom Day marks the twentieth anniversary of a new, non-racial, democratic dispensation in South Africa, after all those years of a race-based political order that spread from Cape Town to the Limpopo River. A pedant might say this year's celebration actually marks the beginning of the twenty-first year of the revolutionary change in the country's political fortunes rather than the twentieth year. Regardless, this anniversary represents a momentous change in the political order of the nation. And it is absolutely right and fitting that such an event should be celebrated with special fanfare.

Some two hundred years earlier, in acknowledging a roughly equivalent anniversary for Americans after their own revolution against Great Britain, John Adams, co-author of that country's two founding documents - the Declaration of Independence and its Constitution - as well as its second president had penned a letter to his wife, Abigail, concerning July 4th, in which he had written, "I believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be celebrated by pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of this continent to the...

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