The day that changed the history of our country

GOING by what I have heard and the images I have seen of joyous South Africans ululating in the streets, February 2 1990, was certainly a day to remember.

GOING by what I have heard and the images I have seen of joyous South Africans ululating in the streets, February 2 1990, was certainly a day to remember.

But for me this seemingly all-important day remains a blur.

Forgive me for what might seem to be my blatant ignorance of history. It's just that I was too young and naive to appreciate the significance of the moment.

How exactly was I to know that an important piece of history was being written in the nation's capital? Being a wide-eyed four-year-old in Tlhabane in North West, the announcement of the unbanning of the ANC and other liberation movements was not an occasion worth noting.

In fact, if you ask me what I was doing on that day I will not be able to give you an answer.

I was probably thinking of ways to cause grief for my parents but, hey, that was my sole duty at the time.

But now, as a 24-year-old South African, the events of that day represent so much more than a moment in history.

February 2 1990 now represents the home stretch in the long and winding race to end apartheid.

Young people who had long heard stories of the heroics of political icons such as Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo and Nelson Mandela can now put a face to those legends.

No longer would the oppressed people of South Africa merely whisper about their leaders' long-awaited return for fear of breaking some law or another.

No more secret gatherings to listen to amateur radio broadcasts from comrade OR (Tambo) would be convened, as I have heard struggle veterans say when they reminisce about days gone by.

All were free to publicly announce their intentions to break free from a repulsive system of racial exclusion.

Now, as we hop from one political embarrassment to another, let us keep fresh on our minds the dreams and aspirations we had of a prosperous South Africa for all its people - no matter how distant they might seem.

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