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Public Statements

South Africa's Freedom Day


Location: Washington, DC

On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I extend warmest wishes to the people of the Republic of South Africa on your Freedom Day on April 27.

This year's celebration is especially poignant: it marks the 20th anniversary of your nation's first democratic elections and follows the recent passing of the Rainbow Nation's beloved son, Nelson Mandela.

Madiba was a stranger to hate. He rejected recrimination in favor of reconciliation. On this 20th anniversary, we reflect on South Africa's transformation in these two decades as a testament to the power of reconciliation, forgiveness, and hope.

This year also marks an important milestone for the United States as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, which expanded voting rights to racial minorities. Our own commemoration is yet another reminder of the work ahead in our shared struggle for democracy and human rights.

As you prepare to hold general elections next month -- your fifth in the post-apartheid era -- we remember the spirit of that historic election in 1994, one filled with tremendous hope, goodwill, and promise for a better future

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