Sarah Oliver-Lead SA Future LeaderWith everything that our country has been through in the past few weeks, Freedom Day comes as a stark reminder that one cannot live in the world, without knowing your history and what has brought you into being in this present moment. Particularly regarding the wave of xenophobic attacks, Freedom Day is a chance for all South Africans to turn around and look in the mirror, and ask ourselves if we’re happy with what we see.
It’s also a reminder for us to be fully conscious when enacting our rights that have come with living in a democracy, and at the same time, doing this in a way that is respectful and not harmful to our fellow citizens.
This past week, I was part of facilitating an interactive workshop, where we asked a group of students to respond to certain statements regarding reconciliation in our country, on whether they agreed or disagreed. The response to the statement 'I am proud of South Africa's history' was interestingly an even split of yes and no, and some important perspectives were raised. A similar response was raised to the statement ‘South Africa is more reconciled since 1994’, with experiences of racism and xenophobia fuelling the discussion.
But in response to the statement 'I have the power to make a difference in SA', it was a clear majority yes. And for me, this is one of the encouraging things that Freedom Day and our transition to democracy has brought about – a belief of young people that we have the power to act on our visions of change.
So this Freedom Day, let’s not be afraid to look in the mirror, let’s engage in those tough conversations, acknowledging how our own individual histories and narratives have shaped our perspectives, and greeting every human being with the dignity they deserve. Finally, let’s celebrate our country, by remembering the power of each and every individual, to make a positive impact in our world.
Lead SA Future Leader