On Thursday, April 27th, the South African Permanent Mission to the United Nations and the Consulate General of South Africa, in partnership with the Adams Administration, hosted a flag-raising ceremony at the Bowling Green Public Square. The flag-raising was in honor of South Africa celebrating 29 years of freedom, with the first democratic elections being held in the country on April 27th, 1994.
Though celebrated every year, this year’s theme was “Consolidating and Safeguarding Democratic Gains.”
At the event, Mayor Eric Adams reminisced on his time spent in South Africa, saying, “I still remember finally the days of driving from Soweto to Port Elizabeth to Joburg to Cape Town and just seeing a beautiful country and what it represents and the spirit and energy that looking out from Robben Island, a place where Nelson Mandela spent 27 years of being in prison and the 29th year of really acknowledging Freedom Day and what it means and what it represents. And, as the country continues to evolve [after] so many years of being under the grip of apartheid, that shows the resiliency of the country and what it represents.”
He continued, “I am so proud to say that I am the second African American mayor. Sometimes when I say I am the second African American mayor, we only focus on the American part. But let’s be clear, I am African. I am African, and we should not allow ourselves to be ripped apart from the success.”
In his final remarks, Adams said, “So on behalf of the City of New York, I want to give this proclamation. I, Eric Adams, mayor of the City of New York, and African, [am] saying now, therefore I dedicate today in this proclamation, Thursday, April 27th, 2023, in the City of New York, South African Freedom Day. Congratulations to you.”
When asked for a comment, Mzwanele Langa, the South African Consulate General’s Chargé d’affaires said he was thankful to the New York City Mayor’s Office and the South African Tourism Office for hosting the event. He looked towards the future, saying that next year’s 30th year of freedom for the nation would be a significant milestone.
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