Independent Media unveiled its Freedom Day campaign today, a day ahead of South Africa’s 27th year of democratic inclusion. The gist of this year’s campaign though, is a strong reminder that whilst the country has come far, it still has a very long way to go until there is complete inclusion and therefore real freedom.
“True freedom in South Africa can only be realised when all voices are heard and acknowledged” commented Aneez Salie, Independent Media’s Editor-in-Chief. “We are not there yet, as the conversation is still, to a large extent, very one-sided, which is why Independent Media has committed to standing up to prevent the chasm of silence from growing any bigger than it already is.”
Salie is referring to the Campaign’s title – #UnmuteFreedom, which reflects how so many South Africans are not heard when it comes to accessing many of the basic principles of the Constitution. These include access to education, healthcare, housing, water, clean air and even financial support and the most basic of banking facilities.
The campaign also draws attention to the fact that many of these basic human rights, enshrined in our Constitution, are themselves, inadequate and/or deliberately exclusionary, even if they are available.
“We will never allow South African voices to be silenced again” stated Dr Iqbal Survé, Executive Chairman of Independent Media. “This year’s Freedom Day is particularly poignant with our country facing increased challenges given the ongoing onslaught of COVID-19, which has radically shifted the goals in terms of what freedoms we have always taken for granted.
“This period of change has also highlighted just how big the divide is between matters such as decent education, an affordable one and a free one where those without access to the modern tools that make the digital world spin, are being left behind.”
Going further in underlining the differences that still divide us and prevent an economically prosperous egalitarian society from being fulfilled, Dr Survé observed: “Freedom does not require for there to be a free for all access to the country’s coffers, but future freedom does necessitate that South Africa’s peoples are given the welcome, means and ability to participate in the economy, which they are at present, denied.
“Sadly, over the past 27-years, we have learnt that we cannot take any form of freedom at face value, which is why our #Unmute Freedom campaign encourages all South Africans to speak up and speak out so that those who have the means to make the changes that are still required for complete independence, to hear us – loud and clear.”
#UnmuteFreedom launches on Monday and will run for the rest of the week. It will include an icon, which will be used each time an article appears – online and in print – and will highlight something contrary to what Freedom Day allegedly stands for.