Celebrated on the 27th of April each year, Freedom Day honours the anniversary of our country’s first non-racial election in 1994.  Paying tribute to our liberation from a divisive Apartheid rule, where a minority wielded a prejudiced political power over a majority, and remembering an ideology that everyone, black and white, rich and poor, can come together to create a new tapestry – a unified country such as the world had never before realised.  We called it the spirit of Ubuntu.  It was a message of hope.  It was a promise to each other.  It was our dream of a rainbow nation.

For a long time now we have been unable to experience freedom as we understood it.  The realities of covid-19 have constricted our movements, forced an end to many of our means of expression and limited our living experience in real ways. It seems a long time ago when we were last able to freely embrace a loved one or to have our homes filled with music, laughter - and of course, enjoy our trademark big family braais. The strain on all of us have been undeniable.

However, we found new ways of expression and different ways to interact.  Taking advantage of the technological age we spurred ourselves into a nearer future and adapted our days to what has become known as, “the new normal”. We have once again been proven to be a connected nation.  Beyond connectivity provided by technology, South Africans are known to be connected unlike most other people.  Through our refusal to turn a blind eye to our shameful pasts balanced with our persistent resolve for reconciliation – the spirit of Ubuntu is embedded within our collective DNA.

Beyond the Covid-crisis other obstacles persist.  Poverty continues to enslave our youth as education, in particular the access to it, remains key to breaking this cycle. Climate change have begun introducing new threats, effecting food production, clean water supply and the safety within our backyards. Not our suburbs or mountains, not even our universities, have been spared from raging wildfires.  Our breadbaskets desperately fight to put food on our tables as land erosion, droughts and even more fires encroach further into the heart of the country. Gender-based violence, South Africa’s oldest pandemic, reached critical mass since the lockdowns were first implemented in 2020.  The sobering facts about how we view the women of our country - like freezing water to the face.  Femicide has become a staple in news headlines as 1 South African woman is reported to be murdered every 6 hours by an intimate partner.  On this terrifying mountain mothers and daughters are sacrificed every day, and millions of us must stand by and watch, unable to scale it.

And so, how will we get through this?  How can we, in the midst of all of this, still celebrate Freedom Day? The best way we know how – together. The same way we overcome hatred with forgiveness; the same way we cross cultures and claim world championships; the same way we create the dream of a rainbow nation.

Ubuntu is as broad as it is simple, “I am because of who we all are”.  Wherever you may find yourself today: alone, in a far corner of the world or surrounded by loved ones; in a desperate situation or in a position of plenty, we encourage you to remember the spirit of Ubuntu.  We urge you to remain a connected people and we believe the dream that is the rainbow nation still lingers within us on this Freedom Day.


On behalf of the NTEU Family,

Go well,

Hambani kakuhle,



Mr Xolani Tom




NTEU is a politically non-aligned trade union organizing exclusively in the Higher Education sector and is aligned to FEDUSA, the largest politically non-aligned trade union federation in South Africa.


Issued By:

Jako Nel

National Marketing Officer

Email: Communications@nteu.org.za


For media queries:

Grant Abbott

NTEU General Secretary

Phone:  0834396363

Email:   Gensec@nteu.org.za