South Africa launches celebrations to mark '10 years of freedom'

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 January, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 09 January, 2004, 12:00am

Updated at 11.11am:
South Africa officially launched celebrations to mark '10 years of freedom' at a function in Hong Kong on Thursday evening.

Consul-General Mario George Masher said a programme of events to commemorate a decade since the country's first democratic elections would take place in South Africa and internationally during 2004.

South Africa's first democratic elections took place in April 1994 after over 40 years of apartheid polices of racial segregation. African National Congress (ANC) leader Nelson Mandela became the country's first black president.

The South African Ten Years of Freedom programme will highlight topics such as the ''road to freedom'', the state of the nation, peace issues, the constitution, labour, education, women and children. Other topics will include: South Africa's heritage, trade, tourism and investment, HIV/Aids, reconciliation as well cultural, sports and promotional events.

'The South African government has been accessing how far it has achieved its objectives in the past decade,' Mr Masher said.

Secretary for Justice Elsie Leung Oi-sie said it was a great honour for Hong Kong to share the joy of 10 years of freedom in South Africa. She said she was 'deeply impressed' by the progress made there to improve people's quality of life.

South Africa is China's largest trading partner in Africa.